Gale School enters final phase of redevelopment

  • The Gale School was once located in back of Belmont Middle School, and since been moved to a new site. It was built in 1894. Monitor file

  • The Gale School has been lifted off its original foundation and is now ready to be moved on July 21st and 22nd using the road on the left which was cleared for the move. GEOFF FORESTER

  • The old Gale School building, located behind Belmont Middle School in Belmont, is seen on Friday, Mar. 16, 2018. Earlier in the week, Shaker Regional School District voters decided to allow the district to sell the historic structure to the Save Our Gale School Committee. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

  • A classroom inside the old Gale School building, located behind Belmont Middle School in Belmont, is seen on Friday, Mar. 16, 2018. Earlier in the week, Shaker Regional School District voters decided to allow the district to sell the historic structure to the Save Our Gale School Committee. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

  • Woody Fogg stands in the attic of the old Gale School building, located behind Belmont Middle School in Belmont, on Friday, Mar. 16, 2018. Earlier in the week, Shaker Regional School District voters decided to allow the district to sell the historic structure to the Save Our Gale School Committee. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

  • Desks and chairs piled in a corner of the old Gale School building, located behind Belmont Middle School in Belmont, are seen on Friday, Mar. 16, 2018. Earlier in the week, Shaker Regional School District voters decided to allow the district to sell the historic structure to the Save Our Gale School Committee. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

  • The abandoned Gale School in back of the Belmont Middle School off of School Street. The school was built in 1894. GEOFF FORESTER

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    This Aug. 8, 2017, photo shows the Gale School in Belmont, N.H. The 1894 building is on this year's "Seven to Save" list from the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance. (Andrew Cushing/New Hampshire Preservation Alliance via AP) Andrew Cushing

  • The Gale School has been lifted off its original foundation and is now ready to be moved on July 21st and 22nd using the road to the right which was cleared for the move. GEOFF FORESTER

  • The old Gale School has been lifted off its original foundation and is ready to be moved on July 21nd and 22nd. GEOFF FORESTER

  • The Gale School has been lifted off its original foundation and is now ready to be moved on July 21st and 22nd using the road to the right which was cleared for the move. GEOFF FORESTER

  • The Gale School has been lifted off its original foundation and is now ready to be moved on July 21st and 22nd to its new location. GEOFF FORESTER

  • The Gale School has been lifted off its original foundation and is now ready to be moved on July 21st and 22nd to its new location in Belmont. GEOFF FORESTER

  • The Gale School has been lifted off its original foundation and is now ready to be moved on July 21st and 22nd to its new location. GEOFF FORESTER

  • The newly-moved Gale School at the new permanent area it occupies off of Concord Street in Belmont in August 2020. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor file

  • Bob Lord watches as the Gale School building is moved into place on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER

Monitor staff
Published: 11/28/2021 8:00:56 PM
Modified: 11/28/2021 8:00:27 PM

Belmont’s historic Gale School, which was successfully relocated in July of last year, could begin its transformation into a new community center as early as next year if fundraising goals are met. 

After relocating the building, Lakes Region Community Developers, which had partnered with Save Our Gale School group, assumed responsibility for preserving and repurposing the school. Several possible uses have been considered, involving services to benefit low and moderate-income working families in the Lakes Region by offering programs that are otherwise absent or insufficient in the region. 

The revitalization project is set to cost about $2.4 million, according to Carmen Lorentz, executive director of Lakes Region Community Developers.  

“Fundraising is going very well. We have a bunch of different grants and some state of New Hampshire business development tax credits we’ve been selling,” said Lorentz. “The biggest piece will be the federal historic tax credit.”

Many organizations have purchased tax credits to support the project, with Boothby Therapy Services purchasing $100,000 in New Hampshire business tax credits to support the project. Belknap Landscape Company has also purchased $20,000 worth of credits. 

These tax credits are administered by New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority. Any business that purchases credits may apply 75% of their total contribution to pay its taxes, which can be spread over five years. 

In addition, the federal historic tax credit is provided for the rehabilitation and restoration of historic, income-producing buildings. Developers that receive this credit are held to strict standards of revitalization, such as maintaining original construction and materials, original color, as well as staying true to the original architectural character.  

With these grants, Lakes Region Community Developers is able to subsidize the capital costs up front, allowing for organizations to rent pace below market-rate. 

“It’s a bit of a balancing act,” said Lorentz. “Hopefully, the property doesn’t have to carry any debt, so we can work with them to charge them a rent that fits their model.”

Lorentz predicts that once fundraising goals are met, development should take about a year to complete. 

The first floor of the building is slated to be occupied by the Boys and Girls Club, which will provide affordable childcare to approximately 35 pupils. The second floor will be occupied by Lakes Region Community Services, who provides social services to those with lifelong developmental disabilities. The Gale School will act as a satellite location for Lakes Region Community Developers to hold programming and counseling. 

The Gale School is the group’s first community facility redevelopment. Traditionally, Lakes Region Community Developers focuses on affordable rental properties for low and moderate-income families. Five years ago, they partnered with the the Gale School group to preserve and repurpose the building. 

“We see our expertise in development, we could apply that,” said Lorentz. “We shook hands with the Gale School group almost five years ago. ‘If you guys can move that building, we’ll redevelop it.’ It was nothing short of miraculous to move that building.” 

Built in 1894, the Gale School served the Belmont community until the mid-1980s and it has remained mostly vacant since. Selected as one of New Hampshire’s Seven to Save in 2017, fundraising efforts by the Save Our Gale School group successfully raised over $330,000 in order to preserve and relocate the building. 




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