The funding from NPU was made available through the State of Connecticutâ€™s Neighborhood Assistance Act, a tax credit program which allows organizations to make contributions to eligible non-profit agencies in lieu of paying a portion of their State tax bill, which for 2016 totaled $2.35 million. The Gross Revenue Tax is applied to sales of natural gas and electricity.
â€śNPU is proud to partner with the Norwich Historical Society on a project that will keep more of the rich history of The Rose City alive,â€ť said John Bilda, General Manager of NPU. â€śWith the completion of this project, generations of students in Norwich will have the opportunity to learn in the same building as kids in Norwich from the 1800s.â€ť
Built in 1789, the East District Schoolhouse has suffered from decades of neglect. Over time, the Norwich Historical Society intends to fully restore the building and recreate an authentic late 18th Century schoolhouse interior and exhibit space that will serve as an educational resource for students and the public.
The more recent improvements on the schoolhouse took place in 1970. Given the lack of ventilation and the age of the building, moisture has taken a significant toll on its interior. Work funded by NPUâ€™s contribution will include stabilizing the exterior of the structure, modernizing its ventilation, and restoring window frames and sash. Construction will begin in March and is expected to be completed in October of this year.
â€śHistoric buildings can deteriorate quickly when they are not occupied. Both the 1783 Dr. Daniel Lathrop School and the East District Schoolhouse are remarkable survivors that deserve to be restored and appreciated in the years to come. We appreciate NPUâ€™s ongoing commitment to historic preservation,â€ť said Bill Champagne, President of the Norwich Historical Society.
According to the Norwich Historical Society, when first constructed, the single-room schoolhouse taught boys and girls, a progressive approach for the times, in spelling, geography and math. The most notable student to attend the school is believed to be Lyndia Huntley Sigourney, a renowned poet and one of the most popular American writers during the 19th Century.