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FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2007
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Hartselle to hold Fine Arts Center benefit on Saturday

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

HARTSELLE — If you are interested in saving what is arguably the most recognizable building in Hartselle, there's a way to help.

The seventh annual Hartselle Fine Arts Center benefit dinner is Saturday, and $50 tickets for the event are available, event Chairwoman RaJane Hampton said.

If eating is not in your plans, you can help by participating in the silent auction that begins at 6 p.m. at the old F.E. Burleson School on College Street.

Proceeds go to the ongoing restoration project of the school known primarily because of its red brick, elevated entrance and white columns.

Saving the school and turning it into a fine arts center is a top priority for the Hartselle Historical Society and the Hartselle Fine Arts Center Committee.

Before its closure in 2001, Burleson, which was constructed in 1916, was the oldest operating elementary school in the state.

"This building is an architectural treasure, and we need to return it to its original glory," Hampton said.

In six years, the preservation committee has raised more than $300,000. The organization has repaired the leaking roof, restored the white columns and installed heating and cooling systems on the main floor.

Workers are in the process of providing railing for the balcony, painting classrooms and the foyer, and updating the auditorium and stage.

Although the center is under renovation, Hartselle students have used it.

The College Street Players held two productions in the center. Last summer, the committee hosted Camp Art-Selle, a project that exposed 76 area students to art, music, dance, drawing and drama.

"We've made a lot of progress, but we have a long way to go," said Hampton, who has been involved with renovations from the beginning.

Among the items in Saturday's silent auction are a six-day, seven-night trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and a $500 shopping spree at Nette's Place.

The Oden House in Hartselle is catering the meal, which includes a chicken dish with salad and dessert.

Ticket purchase

For ticket information, contact RaJane Hampton at 773-0014 or come by the Fine Arts Center on Friday.

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