The New York New Jersey Trail Conference is moving into the final phase of construction at Mahwah’s Darlington Schoolhouse, and about 75 people gathered this week to break ground on the historic property that the group will call its future home.
At the groundbreaking ceremony Thursday, representatives of the Bolger Foundation presented the Trail Conference with a $500,000 check. Bolger’s donation was a gift the Conference received for meeting the “Bolger Challenge.”
Issued earlier this year, the Challenge tasked the Trail Conference with raising $500,000 toward the construction cost of the final phase of the restoration. If the Conference raised the money by Nov. 1, the Bolger Foundation pledged to match the $500,000 donation.
Altogether, the Conference - a volunteer environmental group that maintains and maps nature trails throughout Bergen County and the Hudson Valley, NY - has raised $2.5 million to pay for the reconstruction of the 1891 school building.
“Over the past seven months of the Bolger Challenge, over 650 individuals, civic organizations, and local businesses made donations that ranged from $10 to $150,000,” representatives of the Trail Conference said.
According to representatives, construction should begin this December, and take about 11 months to complete.
This phase represents the culmination of a years-long renovation that included structural stabilization, exterior renovation, HVAC and utilities updates during Phase I in 2012.
Phase II of the project will include interior renovation of the original 4,400- square-foot schoolhouse and construction of a 3,700-square-foot, two-story addition, the Conference said in a release.