(L to R) Friends of Hulbert Library representatives Blaise Glory, Mammie Hall and Ruth Womack; Hulbert School Board member Matt Meredith; Friends of Hulbert Library representative Charles Lile; Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilors David Walkingstick and Tina Glory-Jordan; and Hulbert Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Marilyn Dewoody stand inside the renovated kitchen of the Hulbert Auditorium and Community Building.
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — The Cherokee Nation, Friends of Hulbert Library and Hulbert Public Schools together have renovated an historic school building, which now serves as the school auditorium and community building for all in the Hulbert area to enjoy.
The joint effort has led to a new roof on the facility, as well as new floors, a renovated kitchen and restrooms that are now handicap accessible.
“We wanted to help the community by having a community center,” said Mammie Hall, board member of the Friends of Hulbert Library. “Renovating this building benefits every Hulbert citizen. The school has more room for activities, and our community now has a place to gather.”
The nonprofit utilized Cherokee Nation Community and Cultural Outreach grant money to fund a portion of the projects. In 2012, Friends of Hulbert Library received $60,000 for the roof replacement. Hulbert Public Schools covered the remaining costs of the $150,000 project.
Friends of the Library received a $47,000 CCO grant the following year for the projects inside the facility. The school provided labor and covered the cost of some flooring and lighting.
“I am so proud of the partnership our tribe has developed with the Friends of Hulbert Library and Hulbert Public Schools,” said Speaker of the Tribal Council Tina Glory-Jordan. “The model being established in Hulbert can be replicated elsewhere and will serve many communities well throughout the Cherokee Nation. Dual purpose buildings alleviate financial strain on community organizations and, in this case, the school.”
As a condition of benefitting from Cherokee Nation funding, the school agreed to make the building open for public use to the Hulbert community free of charge for the next 25 years.
“Developing solid partnerships with community organizations and creating community centers are extremely important for our tribe,” said Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick. “The centers offer a place where citizens are able to come together and develop the tight camaraderie that has helped our people thrive for hundreds of years. Strong communities lead to a strong tribe.”
The Hulbert Auditorium and Community Building is maintained by Hulbert Public Schools. The school uses the facility for the music program, as well as band practice. It is currently being used for the summer school program. Friends of Hulbert Library use the facility for their summer reading program, since the number of participants has outgrown their former space.
“Having the auditorium renovated is beneficial in numerous ways for the school and community,” said Dr. Marilyn Dewoody, superintendent of Hulbert Public Schools. “We were not able to use the area until the roof was replaced and the space inside restored. With help from Friends of Hulbert Library and the Cherokee Nation, the city of Hulbert and Hulbert Public Schools have a facility they can take great pride in.”