Renovation Project

Celebrating 100 Years of Arts & Culture

The Historic Valdese Foundation is proud to announce a partnership with the Town of Valdese Community Affairs Department in the “Old Rock School Renovation Project,” planned for the Spring of 2024. In 2022, the Old Rock School was a recipient of a Rural Transformation Fund Grant from the North Carolina Main Street & Rural Planning Center. The project will focus on renovations that will greatly improve accessibility and revamp the event venue, with efforts strongly focused on the auditorium.

The facility was also awarded a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission for equipment upgrades, with a generous match from a local foundation. Funding secured, the Community Affairs Department has completed the planning phase and renovation plans with SGA|NW Architecture of Charlotte, NC. Grant funds total $970,000 for construction and equipment and the Town of Valdese has committed an additional $216,000 for auditorium improvements. The foundation is asking for the community’s help to replace the auditorium seating. The current seating was installed as part of the 1986 renovation project and unfortunately, grant funds cannot be used for the seating. After close to forty years of use, the seating is showing considerable wear. The Historic Valdese Foundation would like to ask that you partner with us and consider donating to help complete the auditorium makeover with the addition of new, ADA-approved seating.

For more than a century the historic Old Rock School has overlooked Main Street Valdese as a symbol of community and culture. For more than fifty years, students attended classes, made new friends, and created childhood memories to share. The Old Rock School is more than a building, the Old Rock School is an icon for what is most important in Valdese, the sense of community.

In 1922, built stone by stone, the structure continues to welcome visitors daily and adorns the Waldensian style masonry that is unique to the town’s founders. The halls are still filled with the sounds of children’s voices from school programs, recitals, and awards ceremonies. The steps are worn from the numerous travels from one floor to the next as students rush to class and the wood floors still offer a small creak or three when visitors arrive. This building has touched Members of the community for generations. From visits to the principal’s office to bluegrass concerts, the Old Rock School continues to be a place remembered for good times and perhaps even a paddling or two.

Today, the Old Rock School serves as a structure dedicated to celebrating history and heritage as well as the future. Each year, the building hosts numerous events averaging more than one per day and continues to share a unique culture that is so important to Valdese. Through the programming offered, people from all over the region are welcomed for artist’s workshops, recitals, dance performances, spelling bees, concerts, theatre productions and so much more. These events fill the building with energy that becomes the true heartbeat of Valdese.

As a town of 4,600, having an asset such as the Old Rock School is the envy of many other towns. Locals are proud to see their children on stage to receive the Terrific Kid Award from the local elementary school, and grandparents reminisce about when they too stood on the stage for awards day. Help us carry on the traditions that make Valdese so special by sponsoring the project and the auditorium seating. Your contribution will revive the facility and help the Old Rock School continue to share these special traditions with generations to come.

Thank you for your consideration of this special request.

Morrissa Walker Angi - Director of Community Affairs & Historic Valdese Foundation, Chair

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Contribute to the project online here

Download the contribution packet here

Raised as of 6/12/24 = $94,580

Diamond Sponsors: 

Brown Family Charitable Fund
Dianne Searcy
Chip & Tammy Black
Jim & Linda Rostan


Kellex Seating
Donald Jackson & Maxine Cooper McCall Fund
Marc & Marie Mitchell


UNC Health Blue Ridge
Kevin & Tina Farris
Mears Insurance Group, Inc.
Lloyd & Helen Wallace
Edward L. Bleynat
Anne, Charlie, & Betty Harris, Rex Harris
Dr. Shawn Hamm
Pilot Club of Valdese
Mark Buff
Valdese Rotary Club
Rock School Arts Foundation
Ronnie Thompson


Rexanna Lowman
Christina Naylor
Dr. John & Laura Lafferty
Kathy J. Wellman
Tony S. Willis & Sherry Richard Willis
Willie & Sharon Pascal
Pat & Ka-Cee Vaughan
Mo & Cheryl McCarthy
Teresa Cline & Pam and John Lowdermilk
Keith & Terri Huffman
Diamond Financial Management, LLC.
Jerry L. & Edna C. LaMaster
Randy & Kathy Digh
Pam & Bill Walker
Sue Clark in memory of Morris "Andy" Clark
Alan & Lu Griffin


Nancy & Gene Tucker
Linda Morse in Memory of Michael J. Morse
Susan Sherlock
Meridian Specialty Yarn Group
Andrew & Margie Walker
William & Edith Bradshaw
Danny & Faye Buxton
J. Jerome Williams
Robert & Susan Stevenson
Barbie & John Heilman
Rita L. Brittain
Bill & Bernice Ribet Robinette
Waldensian Heritage Foundation
Patricia Thompson
Greg & Kaye Lail
Jim Hanford
Burke Onsite Computer Solutions
Lydia Angi
Steve Demiter
Heritage Funeral Service & Crematory, Inc. in memory of Buddy Whitener
Ed Plemmons in memory of Ed & Gladys Smith
David Cobb Thompson
Brinkley Insurance Agency
Guigou Bros., Inc.
Tim & Annette Skidmore
In Memory of Richard Oxentine
Glenn & Susan Duncan
Frances Eller Pennell
Nolan R. & Martha G. Mauney


Rose & Will Mueller
Dan & Sarah Hoyle
Emma Draughn
Brian Thompson
William Phillips, Jr. 
Elsie Whisenant
David Fletcher
Mildred Fletcher
Renee & Michael La Corte
Katie & Scott Stillwell
Spence & Jayne Borden
Philip Brendel
Gretchen Costner
Frances Hildebran
Bill & Diane Shillito
Allen & Lois Julian
John & Cathy Doolos
Joel & Lisa Welch
G. Douglas Squillario
Joe & SuAnne Thompson
David Wronko
Betsy Yang
Bingham Storage
Debbie Huffman
Charlotte Boerger
Daniel Grindstaff
In Memory of Billie Pons Curtis
In Memory of T. J. Curtis


Spring Craft Market Raffle = $200

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