Historic Schoolcraft Building Will be Open for Tours

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Standing in front of the Schoolcraft Early Elementary building that is to be sold are former students who attended school in this building with the exception of Katie Redmond who is PTO president and her son Dean in the stroller. From left to right Dr. Jack Sauer who graduated in 1949; Paige Reid, a sophomore in high school; Katie Redmond, Gabe Redmond, age 9 and going into 4th grade; Darcy Bolles a 1999 graduate; Sue Hendriksma a 1967 graduate who is secretary-treasurer of the alumni association.

By Sue Moore

Wanted: A developer with great imagination, lots of cash who will keep the integrity of a revered building in the heart of Schoolcraft and remake it into something extra special.

For those don’t have a wad of cash but would like to revisit their school years in what has become known as the Early Elementary building, the invitation is extended. The school board is offering a series of open houses in which citizens can walk through and relive part of their childhood.

“There are so many memories,” said Dr. Jack Sauer, who attended when it served kindergarten through high school when he graduated in 1949. His dedication to the school system is well known as he returned after veterinarian studies to serve 42 years on the school board in Schoolcraft.

With 14 classrooms, a gymnasium, cafeteria and offices, the building is in good condition, according to James Weiss, chief of maintenance for the school district. “The teachers and custodial staff have taken great pride in the upkeep of the building.” Population growth in the community has stalled, thus there is less need for the classroom space, according to Darby Fetzer, school board president.

The east wing with the gym was built in 1938 by members of Works Progress Administration (WPA) at the height of the depression as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal to provide jobs for one breadwinner in each family. At the time, the school board had three women and two men on it, with Mrs. Bertini Mongreig as the president.

Subsequent additions added more classrooms along Cedar Street in 1950-51. Shortly after, two rooms were added to the south end of the building where shop class took place, said Nancy Rafferty, community historian.

For those desiring a final look at the interior of the Elementary School, school system officials are hosting self-guided open house tours on the following days:

Tuesday, August 29th (during the School District Open House) Visitors are welcome to take part in the Back-to-School Open House, at Roy Davis Field (football/track stadium) from 5 to 8 p.m.  The school band will be playing, the Schoolcraft Village Re-Route Vision and Future Developments and the School District Strategic Plans will be presented.  Dinner will be provided.  A bus will be available to transport visitors to the Early Elementary from Roy Davis Field.

Friday, September 8th from 8 – 10 a.m. (Coffee and donuts provided)

Monday, September 11th from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. (Reception at 5:30 and the school board meeting will be held in Early Elementary gymnasium at 6:00).

After that, it is hoped the building will be put to good use again, said Fetzer.

Sealed bid process:

RFP released to perspective bidders – July 25, 2017
Proposal documents due by 12 p.m. on August 29, 2017
Administrative review and proposer negotiations – August 29, 2017 through August 31, 2017
School Board review and award – September 11, 2017
Due diligence period – September 11, 2017 through October 11, 2017
Closing – on or before October 21, 2017

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