By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
GREENVILLE — Community Partners of Greenville is working on an ongoing initiative to restore historic Prevost Hall to its former glory.
The current project is to repair the leaky portions of the roof.
“We are getting estimates for repairing the roofing systems on the bell tower and then we will be going out to bid for the entire roof project, but the bell tower is what has the leaks,” said Bill Von Atzingen, president of Community Partners of Greenville.
Von Atzingen told the Greenville Town Council at its Jan. 16 meeting that the organization has received two bids to repair the bell tower portion of the roof, and at press time was waiting on a third bid that could come in any day now.
“We have two bids and a third coming in,” Von Atzingen said after the meeting. “They are averaging around $70,000.”
The town owns the building, but Community Partners has been the driving force in repairing and stabilizing the structure, Von Atzingen said.
The group is seeking to acquire grant funding to cover the cost of the roof repairs, he said.
“We are writing for historical grants because the building is on the National Historic Register and then hopefully the town can come up with some ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) money or some other funding, and then we will try to offset that with donations,” Von Atzingen said.
Prevost Hall, built in the 1840s, was previously used as a church and held its final religious services in the 1990s. For a time, a now-defunct arts group, All Arts Matter, used the building for various events, but by the 2000s, the building had become increasingly dilapidated.
Community Partners of Greenville set its sights on the building for restoration and historic preservation.
Prevost Hall is on both the National Register of Historic Places and the Greene County Historical Register.
In April 2021, the historic brass bell that was cast in 1874 and stood 54 feet above the ground was removed from the bell tower because the wooden structure that supported the bell’s 1-ton weight was in poor condition and the bell was in danger of falling.
The bell tower continues to have leaks in inclement weather and has become the top priority for stabilization and renovation of the building.
Community Partners has also worked to restore the stained-glass windows in the former church. Of the eight windows, five have been repaired and Community Partners is looking to fix the three that remain unrestored.
“We are upgrading the windows,” Von Atzingen said. “We have a contract with Bovard Studio from Iowa. They have already done five of the eight windows and we are working on a contract for the other three. There are wooden storm windows on there temporarily, just to preserve as much as possible, but these would be a long-term part of the renovation.”
The group had received three bids for the stained-glass restoration project, including bids from companies closer to home — in Germantown and Albany — but the Iowa company submitted a “considerably cheaper” bid, he said.
“They work literally everywhere in America,” Von Atzingen said. “They are one of the largest stained-glass window restoration companies in America, so this is what they do.”
Other renovations to the building have included the construction of a new handicap-accessible bathroom, with plans to add a kitchenette as well.
The ultimate goal, Von Atzingen said, is to restore the building and convert it into a community center where events such as concerts, plays, meals and other activities can be held.