Volunteers rolled up their sleeves and armed themselves with tools and paintbrushes earlier this month for Alexandra Neighbourhood House’s 72-Hour Longhouse Extreme Makeover.
The project spanned three days, kicking off bright and early Oct. 18, with volunteers from Investors Group Financial Services and various local business teaming up with Alex House volunteers to spruce up the unique structure, which was originally built in 1979, with a fresh coat of paint and other repairs.
The renovation project came to fruition in the summer of 2012, after Alex House was approached by members of Investor Group who were looking for a community project that they could support.
“They came out and interviewed us a couple of times and they really liked the idea of this project,” explained Alex House executive director Penny Bradley. “We’ve got a lot of historic buildings and we’ve been trying to figure out how to support ourselves, so this is our social enterprise. If we can maximize (the longhouse) as a rental space, then we’ll be able to sustain ourselves, overall.”
The longhouse is just the tip of the iceberg for the revitalization of Alex House, Bradley explained. Now, with the project completed, the community group hopes to turn its focus to the remaining historic buildings.
“They need a little bit of TLC, but they’re such major endeavours, whereas with this, we thought, ‘yeah, we can knock this one off,’” she said.
“We can do this and move on to the next thing.”