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Frontpage News 2009 Manor School becomes multi-use cultural centre

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Manor School becomes multi-use cultural centre

During the last year, the 18th century Koigi Manor School in Estonia has been comprehensively renovated to offer better working conditions for pupils and teachers and a new exhibition space for the village`s cultural and social events.

Koigi is a rural municipality with less than 1200 inhabitants situated in Järva County in central Estonia. Home to the Koigi Basic School since 1920, the 18th century Koigi Manor is also used as a village centre. The school hall is used for local social and cultural events, and the school library functions as the village library.

Thanks to a €1 million grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, the future operation of the school has been secured, and the Koigi Manor has been renovated and turned into a multi-use cultural complex. It now has a lecture hall and a new exhibition space showcasing the history of the manor and the region. The manor’s park has been renovated and now features a hiking trail. The new cultural centre and the renovated school is expected to help stimulate local revitalisation and lead to a more lively local community, both by securing the operation of the school and by providing a meeting place for cultural and social events.

Electrical, heating and ventilation systems have been reinstalled, and classrooms have been renovated to secure healthy and good working and learning conditions for pupils and teachers. The school now plans to expand its activities to also include evening classes for adults.

In his speech at the official opening of the renovated Koigi Manor School on 2 October, Norway`s Ambassador to Estonia, Stein Vegard Hagen mentioned that the EEA and Norway Grants support more than 220 cultural heritage preservation projects in the 15 beneficiary states. "Together they form our common European history which can not be divided by state borders: it is entwined through endless stories. But often we do not know each other’s stories. The story of Estonian manor schools is not well known, but it is an interesting story well worth telling. It is with delight that we can now witness the remarkable changes and marvel the full splendour of this manor school," the Ambassador said.

Photo credit: Ando Soomets, NMFA