Nary School In Helga Township Awarded Grant By The Minnesota Historical Society
Helga Township, just six miles south of Bemidji, has been awarded a $363,945 grant by the Minnesota Historical Society for the restoration of the Nary School windows.
The charter school functioned as a consolidated school for students from nearby “one-room” common school until its merger with the Bemidji School District in 1969. After that, it was closed and used as a community center by Helga Township. In 2017, the Nary School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1977, in the interest of energy efficiency, most of the second-floor windows of the Nary School were removed and new, smaller windows were installed in some of the first-floor openings. This severely altered the appearance of the building and created a dark interior that was more isolating from the exterior environment and was less inviting to “occupancy and education.”
The repair and replacement of the windows will benefit the school by providing a “pleasant and historic learning environment for students,” according to a release from Andrea LeVasseur. It will also benefit the community with improved use of the building for voting, township board meetings, and organization and community gatherings such as weddings, fundraisers, and school reunions.
The grant is funded by the Minnesota State Arts Board through the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.
There were 71 applications for the grant, and the Nary School was one of only 38 projects funded.