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The City of Galax has made plans to sell Chestnut Creek School of the Arts tax credits to Carter Bank & Trust, with arrangements to be finalized by the end of March.
CCSA has been in the making for six years. The art school has been temporarily housed in the Vaughan building, beside the Galax Public Library, holding classes there for more than a year while its permanent home is established at the former First National Bank building at the corner of Main and Grayson streets downtown.
The renovation of the building began last year, with CCSA as part of the city's vision to turn downtown into a cultural arts district. The primary format is to offer week-long and week-end workshops in a variety of media, appealing to a national and international market, as well as evening and daytime classes that will appeal to local school children and other residents within easy driving distance.
Galax City Manager Keith Barker said a portion of the paperwork has been completed with Carter Bank & Trust to allow the school to receive certificate of occupancy. The certificate of occupancy, issued Dec. 22, will permit city staff — school director Chris Shackelford, associate director Penny Moseley and the new receptionist Lockie Turman— to move into the building in the next few weeks. The city was required to sell the tax credits before receiving a certificate of occupancy.
Connection to the telecommunication system should be complete in a couple of days, Barker added. Once this is complete, staff can begin moving into the building.
And almost all of the equipment, including equipment for glass work, jewelry making and easels, has been purchased and moved into the building. And after all the furnishings are made, the school should be ready to go.
“While the construction was complete a couple of months ago and we received the certificate of substantial completion, this is a big step to move in city staff,” said Barker.
“The goal is to get them into the building so it can open, and people can come down and sign up for classes.”
Barker said the city is working with auditors to determine final figures. Once those numbers are certified, this will determine what the tax credits are worth.
The city, he said, estimates the tax credits to be worth $250,000 to $275,000. Added to a $300,000 grant from Appalachian Region Commission and a $100,000 donation, these funds close the gap on the $680,000 cost of construction.
“This isn't just a benefit for Carter Bank & Trust, but also it's a great benefit for us,” said Barker. “We appreciate their willingness to go through the process.”
According to Moseley, the first class in the building will be held Feb. 1.
A grand opening of CCSA is scheduled for April 16-17.