More than $90,000 raised to turn old Scout House into music venue

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala.  -  One day at a time, an iconic red building in Limestone County gets closer to its new future, one that will be music to the ears of many students.

"This facility was empty for five years, it had a lot of rot, and needed a lot of renovations and repairs," said committee chair Holly Hollman. "We're raising money to repurpose a historic building near downtown Athens and turn it into a music venue."

Built in the 1930s as an activity center for boy and girl scouts, the Scout House was most recently the central office for the school board. Now, the city of Athens has leased the property to the Athens Arts League, wanting students to lead the way.

"They wanted students to be engaged hands-on in opportunities in the business end as well as the performance end of music," said Hollman.

So students will have the chance to learn music. There will be a recording studio and students will also have a hand in the promotion and marketing of concerts. Internship opportunities will also be available. The Arts League has raised more than $90,000 in grant dollars for the project.

"We’ll have house concerts and exhibits," said Hollman. "We want to honor Limestone County’s musical heritage with different exhibits from Alabama Shakes all the way to Patti Malone, who was a slave that went to school at Trinity and became this international soprano singer."

Today's scouts still have a hand in the Scout House. Hollman explains boy scouts built a ramp out front to make the building handicap-accessible.

She says both scouts and citizens alike have fond memories of the building's past.

"You have people that came here as scouts to dances they had here and they'll tell you, 'This is where I went on my first date, had my first dance, had my first kiss.' It means a lot to people."

That's part of the reason why, she says, so many people have donated time and labor to make the project successful.

She says they hope to have its doors open by November 2018.