Historic Onancock School awarded major grant for improved access

May 13, 2020

On Monday, May 3 the Historic Onancock School Community & Cultural Center (HOS) was awarded a $50,000 grant for improving access to its historic school building. The award, from the Eastern Shore of Virginia Community Foundation, will assist HOS in installation of a new wheelchair lift in the building, which has not been accessible to persons with mobility issues since its opening in 1921. This project will also include renovating bathrooms to achieve Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and will cost approximately $ 95,000. Additional funds needed to complete the project will be raised through a capital campaign, which has been under way since March, but will begin in earnest as soon as the coronavirus lockdown is relaxed sufficiently to permit fund raising events.

Executive Director Joani Donohoe said of this project, “HOS has been hampered for years because neither the upper nor lower floors of our building have been accessible. With the new lift in place, both levels will be fully accessible and an ADA-compliant bathroom will be available for everyone using the building.”

Onancock High School alumna Roberta Dean, president of the HOS board, explained that support from the alumni and other members of the community will be critical now that many potential business sponsors are struggling financially due to Covid 19. “We are counting on our alumni and friends to make this project work. We hope everyone will recognize the tremendous value of being able to open our facilities to more seniors and people with mobility problems.”

Bids have been obtained for the wheelchair lift and related construction, and a tentative start date of July 1, 2020 has been selected. The start date must be flexible to comply with state guidelines regarding use of the building. The project is expected to be completed before the end of 2021. A fitting tribute to the venerable structure for its 100th birthday, the wheelchair lift project will be the culmination of a series of improvements made in recent years, including interior and exterior painting, roof repairs, renovation of classrooms, and installation of HVAC equipment.

Broadwater Academy - It's Worth it!

Located on 13 acres of open space in Onancock, Historic Onancock School Community & Cultural Center is a 501c(3) nonprofit dedicated to strengthening the economic and cultural vitality of the Eastern Shore’s diverse community. Our tenants include 14 artists and makers in working studios, two arts organizations, a table tennis club, fitness club, community band, several start up entrepreneurs, and the Eastern Shore Waterman’s Museum. Many local, federal and private groups use the facility for meetings, classes, forums and family gatherings. Countless children and adults have enjoyed soccer and other recreation on the open outdoor space or walking the nature trail.

More information can be found here: https://www.historiconancockschool.org/

Businesses and individuals interested in supporting our Capital Campaign should call (757) 302-1331 or email [email protected].

Historic Onancock School   6 College Ave. PO Box 467  Onancock, VA 23417




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