WILLSBORO — Although the old Willsboro School may look like a skeleton to most casual observers, a housing project there is progressing.
“It’s all coming together,” said developer Eli Schwartzberg of Stonebrook Properties.
If all goes according to plan, the approximately 70-room Champlain Valley Senior Community assisted-living facility will open in March 2013.
The property, which includes the 42,000-square-foot building and 9 acres in two parcels, is located on School Street, which borders the Boquet River. It is adjacent to Nature Conservancy land, providing nearby natural beauty.
Schwartzberg has made a concerted effort to have local contractors and workers.
He has also made every effort to maintain the historical and architectural integrity of the building, such as keeping the historic entrances and the 10-foot-wide hallways.
“There will also be some historical displays, and whenever possible, the original wood will be preserved. It will be a challenge, but we are going for it.”
PRESERVING THE PIT
Although some of the maple flooring from “The Pit” (former gym and auditorium) was damaged beyond repair due to a leaky roof that occurred before Schwartzberg purchased the property, the rest is being saved and will be utilized. Schwartzberg has rescued the stage curtains from the Pit, as well, and is having them dry-cleaned and fire-proofed.
Parts of the old science lab are also being refurbished, w
ith two of the students’ oak tables to be placed in the reception area. There are plans for a display case with school memorabilia, such as sports uniforms.
As Schwartzberg showed a vast space where walls between classrooms had been removed, he joked, “This looks like a bowling alley right now.”
The name and number plates from the classrooms have been saved and will be placed back on the doors to serve as reference to times past.