- Associated Press - Sunday, July 20, 2014

BETTENDORF, Iowa (AP) - Efforts to save Bettendorf’s old Forest Grove School are rolling forward with the installation of roof sheathing and the receipt of a $50,000 project grant from the state of Iowa for additional work.

“That grant was a big shot in the arm for us,” said Sharon Andresen, an organizer who began the effort to save the dilapidated one-room school on Forest Grove Road in 2012.

Of the project grant, the group will receive $33,000 from the State Historical Society of Iowa via the Historic Resource Development Program, and members will have to raise the remaining $13,000 on their own, either in cash or through in-kind contributions, Andresen said.

The Quad-City Times reports (http://bit.ly/1pfyYiP ) the money will pay for gutters, siding repair and replacement, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and rebuilding the bell tower. The tower probably will be built over the winter in a shop. The deadline for this work is autumn 2016.

Andresen and others in the group are elated to have the roof sheathing go on because ever since the start of their efforts, that’s the question everyone asked.

The sheathing was donated by Pro-Build and the scaffolding by All-American Scaffold, both of Davenport. The plywood is being pounded into the intact rafters by volunteers working under the direction of a hired supervisor. The east side is nearly finished, with work beginning soon on the west.

Another summer goal is to order the cedar shingles, a cost of $4,100. The group is urgently seeking volunteers with experience at working on cedar roofs to help with this.

Also, bricks are onsite for the construction of a chimney sometime before winter. The chimney will not function, but is necessary to return the building to its 1920s appearance.

Also on the schedule for this summer: installation of eight replica windows and a front door that are being constructed by Carver Custom Millworks of Milan. The basic bid was $8,500, but the group decided to take on a $2,600 “up charge” to get historic, wavy glass in the windows, Andresen said.

The last of the money to pay for the windows is being raised by Birdies for Charity, the community fundraising program of the John Deere Classic golf tournament, and school supporters hope to raise the $2,600 during a car wash in August, Andresen said.

So far, about $54,000 has been spent out-of-pocket on the school renovations, with a substantial additional amount of in-kind contributions of materials and labor. Work has included lifting the building off its foundation and making it square, building a new foundation, pouring a new concrete floor in the basement, repairing joists and rafters, and starting on the roof.

“Volunteers have worked tirelessly on fundraising, grant-writing and generation coordination of the project,” Andresen said. “Even maintenance of the grounds has been donated. The community has really come behind this project, and we could not be where we are today without the help of so many generous businesses and individuals.

“I would encourage people who have supported our project to drive by to see the progress made possible by their donations,” she added. “In the end, they will be credited with saving Forest Grove School No. 5!”

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Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com

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