The “little blue school” has been empty for 10 years. The community of Noti, 16 miles west of Eugene in the foothills of the Coast Range, saw the historic building close down in June 2002 due to budget shortfalls. But this year, it’s opening back up, according to Leontine Winters Krohn, president of the Noti Community Center. The school’s inaugural fundraiser is a production of Cinderella by Ballet Fantastique accompanied by live ’60s music from singing duo Shelley and Cal and their band at 2:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 4.
“Our community has been given an incredible opportunity to use the Noti school property, or lose it,” Winters Krohn says.
It an effort to get the historic school building up and running, the group is in the process of obtaining nonprofit status to convert it into the Noti Community Center.
“The school board has given us the month of August to make a sweat-equity down payment on the property,” Winters Krohn says. She says sweat equity means that any effort they put into anything they do in the next month counts toward the down payment. This is a unique arrangement that took many school board meetings to set up, and draws from a community that might be low in money but rich in talent.
The community center involves the small communities of Noti, Walton and parts of Veneta and Elmira, but “we don’t have a tax district,” Winters Krohn says, and with no tax base, the Noti Community Center will rely on individual community supporters, unlike other cities, such as Eugene, which have municipally funded community centers.
In addition to this weekend’s fundraiser, there are other August events to help with the sweat equity; Aug. 6 kicks off a three-week-long mashup of free workshops offered to youths between the ages of 11 and 17. Classes include dance taught by Alana Fisher of Ballet Fantastique, forestry, music, theater, writing and art, all taught by talented volunteers from around the community.
At the end of the month, the center will throw what organizers hope is the first annual Noti Summer Jam, Aug. 24-25 — a weekend showcasing community talent.
Tickets for the Ballet Fantastique performance are $15, $10 for youth and are available at the schoolhouse and at the door, 22713 Noti Loop Road. For more info go to the Facebook page at http://wkly.ws/1bz