School may not be in session this summer in West Glenville.
The historic Green Corners schoolhouse on Potter Road may stay closed during July and August for repairs to keep one wall of the 188-year-old structure from collapsing.
Town Director of Operations James MacFarland said the building at the intersection of Potter Road and Green Corners Road Extension hasn’t had a lot of substantial maintenance since 1977. The back wall is bowing outward a bit, and moisture has seeped into the structure.
“The back wall is now unstable. As such, we did authorize emergency stabilization,” he said.
Schoolhouse caretaker Ruth Long said there is temporary bracing on the north, east and west sides to prevent them from collapsing.
The chairs and desks have been removed from the structure so town officials could assess the entire building. The back wall needs to be torn down completely and rebuilt. The building also needs a new roof and floor, according to MacFarland.
“The interior floor has enough weak spots in it that it has to be redone,” he said.
The schoolhouse usually is open Sunday afternoons in July and August and by appointment from June through October. But it may not open this year if these problems cannot be corrected by June, according to MacFarland.
The cost of the work is about $22,000, which would have to come from the town’s reserve funds, according to MacFarland. He told the Town Board that a long-term plan is needed for the structure.
“It’s a big chunk of money and it doesn’t have thousands of people visit it,” he said.
The facility used to get between 150 and 250 visitors a year, according to Long. Since school districts have cut back on field trips, it averages between 100 and 120. There is no charge for visitors.
People enjoy seeing how things were in the past, she said.
“It’s just so different from what most people know, and it’s interesting for them to see how all the different ages would have been in one room under one teacher and learn all their subjects,” she said.
People who attended the school sometimes come back to visit, including a man who drove up in a 1915 car.
The building housed students in first through eighth grades from 1825 until 1946, when it closed because of a decline in enrollment and the rise of centralized school districts.
The schoolhouse was for the children of the local farmers, who built the structure, using homemade bricks and old barn beams. The school did not have electricity until the late 1930s.
Town Board member Gina Wierzbowski said that the town should explore obtaining state grant funding for the renovations if it is a historic structure.
The roof, the front door and some of the interior has been changed and the desks are not original to the building, according to MacFarland.
“It looks like an 1825 one-room schoolhouse, but it’s not, I believe, perfectly correct for the period,” he said.
Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the town needs to get a few more quotes to determine the cost of the work and look for alternative sources of revenue. Perhaps people would consider making donations to support Green Corners, he said. “We definitely want to save it,” he added.
The group is interested in receiving donations of money or assistance. Long asked people looking to help to call MacFarland at Town Hall at 688-1200.