Petersburg Pilot -


Improvements planned for century-old Sons of Norway Hall


Suzanne Ashe

The Sons of Norway has applied for a $300,000 grant for interior and exterior upgrades.

Over the years the Sons of Norway Hall has served a multitude of functions in the Petersburg community.

As the hall celebrates its 100th anniversary, several improvement projects are planned for the future.

According to Sons of Norway member Sally Dwyer, a grant for $300,000 has been submitted to Sen. Bert Stedman for the 2012 legislative budget.

The latest grant would allow for improvements to the upstairs including a covered stair chair lift for better accessibility, replacing doors, remodeling the upstairs kitchen and adding a unisex bathroom. In addition, the funds would also cover the installation of a dishwasher in the downstairs kitchen, Dywer said.

“We are working with Sen. Stedman on this latest grant. He knows how much the hall means to the community,” Dwyer said.

As co-chair of the Senate finance committee Sen. Stedman adds projects to the appropriations bill that in part, provide funds for projects that are vital to communities like Petersburg.

If the grant comes through, other planned projects for the hall include replacing interior and exterior lights, a new sound system (including new baffles), and a new treated-wood parking lot.

“The parking lot alone will run about $170,000,” Dwyer said.

“We are on the national registry of historical places, but unfortunately there isn't any funding for a building such as ours that is not of national importance,” she said. “It seems to me, that if you are one-of-a-kind for an entire state, you should be pretty high on the ranking,” she said.

In 2005 the hall received a grant for $96,000 for improvements. The chapter replaced the old wooden floor, that was cracked and splitting, at a cost of $47,000.

“The 95-year old fur [floor] was cracking and splitting,” said Dwyer.

Also in 2001, the chapter installed a heat pump to heat the building, added new insulation under the building and new electrical systems were installed, Dwyer said.

The hall was re-painted in 2006 with remaining funds.

In 2008, the chapter submitted another grant of $50,000 to purchase the roofing materials. The materials are in town to replace the existing roof with a red one. The project will be underway this spring.

The funds from the 2008 grant covered the cost of a large screen and LCD player and electrical improvements that have been completed.

Last year, the chapter hosted a fundraiser to install a new stove and some additional things for the kitchen, Dwyer said.

“We have had to think of creative ways for funding,” Dwyer said.

In 2011, Sen. Stedman added to the budget $150,000 for the Sons of Norway hall, however it was not approved by the governor.

The Sons of Norway Chapter is looking into filing a 501.c3 to achieve non-profit status, which will make it easier for people to donate to the hall, Dwyer said.


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