Chandler Close to Goal With a Month Yet To Go

Front Page / Dec. 3, 2009 3:23pm EST

Only $25,000 more is needed to meet the “Raise the Curtain Challenge” that will complete the fundraising for the $3.2-million Centennial Project at Chandler, board president Janet Watton announced this week.

"These are such exciting times!” Watton said. “Generous Vermonters have brought us so close to our goal.”

At the same time, she hoped for a “speedy response” with the incentive of the Challenge, which will double the money of contributors during December.

At the time of ground-breaking June 27, just over $2.8 million had ben committed to the project by private and public sources, including $750,000 from Randolph taxpayers and a $250,000 HUD grant arranged by Senator Leahy through the Preservation Trust of Vermont. This left just under $350,000 to go to reach the goal.

To fill this gap, several friends challenged Chandler to raise $175,000 in new gifts and pledges by December 31, which they will match if their challenge is met. Campaign Co-chair Linda Morse notes that since then, $150,000 in new gifts and pledges has come in. "We will meet this challenge if people who value what Chandler has to offer will include Chandler in their year-end giving," she said.

Construction is well underway, as The Herald has been reporting. Back behind the Music Hall the hillside has been shorn of trees, a retaining wall erected, and an emergency access road built. An impressive steel framework for the over 4000-square-foot addition is nearly finished.

Inside, the gallery basement has been stripped down, pipes laid, a slab poured, the walls and the grand staircase has beeen roughed in leading to the new restroom suite and community studio space, all scheduled to be ready by January.

The Centennial Project was planned to take the 1907 structure into the 21st century: fire-safe and structurally sound, accessible to people with physical challenges, energy-efficient, and with no more long waits for the restrooms. Backstage we'll have good storage for costumes, increased technical capabilities, offstage areas for sets, and new teaching spaces for the arts and music.

The project received a boost from the stage Sept. 19 from singer/songwriter Tom Rush.

"I urge you all to help out any way you can,” he told the audience. “Give time, give money, give both if you can. It's a great, great place and needs our help to stay that way."

Between now and year-end, every $1 given or pledged to Chandler is worth $2 if the Challenge can be met. Donors may send a check to 71-73 Main Street in Randolph, or use the website,

“Please just remember that we need to hear from you by December 31, to ensure that the Centennial Project is paid for in full before the curtain of the 'new Chandler' is raised next fall!" executive director Becky McMeekin said.

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