By Jesse Wood
The fundraising committee for the historic Banner Elk School project received its first major donation recently, a $100,000 gift from Elaine J. Wold, according to Historic Banner Elk School Fundraising Committee Chair Ted Silver.
This donation is to name the garden area that runs parallel to N.C. 184 in downtown Banner Elk. Silver noted that her husband Keith Wold previously donated the life-size elk statue that is located in the same vicinity.
In November, the town closed on the 5.4-acre property that was acquired after the Avery County Board of Commissioners agreed to sell the property for $1 million contingent upon the town paying water usage fees (estimated to be $30,000 to $50,000 in all) for the current Banner Elk Elementary School throughout the life of the 12-year loan.
Earlier in the year, Banner Elk Mayor Brenda Lyerly announced at Banner Elk Chamber’s annual dinner that a $100,000 gift had pledged by a resident of Elk River Club, which the Wolds reside in during portions of the year.
“I think this [donation] is significant in that it’s just been a very short time since [donation information] went out and we already have got this huge donation,” Lyerly said in January. “We feel good about the fact that we will be able to complete all of our obligations to make this school a vibrant part of the Town of Banner Elk.”
Silver said that the committee continues to expand its contact base and working to increase publicity regarding the fundraising campaign. The committee also has another committee devoted to potential future usages.
Silver also noted that aside from major donations for naming rights, the committee hopes to receive money along all of the donor levels to maintain a “grassroots” effort that everybody can become involved in “to help preserve the school and make it a good showpiece for the county.”
For more information on donating money for this project, contact the Town of Banner Elk at 828-898-5313.