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Home on the Grange

Nisky' advances Grange Hall renovations to make new home for ECOS

The front of the former Niskayuna Grange Hall as it seen in August 2010. The town is moving forward with renovations plans for ECOS to move into the historic building.

The front of the former Niskayuna Grange Hall as it seen in August 2010. The town is moving forward with renovations plans for ECOS to move into the historic building. Photo by John Purcell.

— The school was built in the 1850s and is considered a rare and intact example of a 19th century schoolhouse. It was constructed of wood and locally quarried limestone. Surviving architectural features, such as the shutters, windows and Victorian entrance doors, were all important in receiving an historic designation.

The building has long been vacant. The Grange disbanded in 1988 and gave the building to the town. The Niskayuna Grange had bought the building in June of 1948.

The Town Board passed a resolution on Aug. 31, 2010, for the town to enter into an agreement with ECOS for it to use the building as its new office location. At the meeting, Supervisor Joe Landry said an addition would be built in the back of the building to accommodate ECOS, while the front of the building would be preserved and used as an educational area.

Clear said when the town previously went out for bids nearly four years ago on the renovation work, it didn’t yield positive results.

Town officials were expecting bids to come in around $150,000 to $175,000, Clear said, but only one company responded with a $300,000 proposal. ECOS now has around $51,000 raised to go toward the project, with nearly the entire funding coming from a grant.

Clear said he is hopeful more than one company will respond to the recent call for bids and will be more in line with previous estimates.

The town would still own the building, with ECOS leasing out office space from the town.

Jacqueline Skolnik, chairwoman of the Property Committee for ECOS, expressed her gratitude to board members at the Feb. 28, meeting. A $35,000 state grant is set to expire next year, so Skolnik hopes the money won’t be lost.

“As a longtime town resident, I feel the restoration of the historic Grange will contribute to the beauty and the worth of the town,” Skolnik said. “We are very pleased to see that the renovation will begin in the near future … using monies ECOS has raised for this purpose.”

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