Fly Gulch Schoolhouse to reopen to students in the fall |

Fly Gulch Schoolhouse to reopen to students in the fall

Teresa Ristow

— After two years of fundraising and restoration work, the Fly Gulch Schoolhouse is ready to again serve as a teaching tool for local students.

Originally built in 1917 and located about 10 miles northwest of Steamboat Springs, the historic school house and teacherage buildings were moved by an enthusiastic group of teachers and community members to Strawberry Park Elementary in 1992 to be used as a time-period teaching tool for students.

But years of use, moisture and mold issues led to the buildings falling into disrepair and become uninhabitable.

In 2014, Strawberry Park Elementary teachers Anna White and Lisa Adams envisioned repainting and sprucing up the decades-old building, but the project quickly expanded into a districtwide pursuit for grant funding.

The district received an $8,750 State Historical Fund grant to complete a historic structure assessment and then secured a $33,500 state development grant to use for construction, drainage work, sealing and ventilating the building's crawl space and to mitigate mold inside.

Students are expected to begin using the schoolhouse again by fall, district officials said Friday.

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"In the fall we will begin turning the schoolhouse into our own ‘student created Yampa Valley history museum,'" White said.

White said elementary students would begin by creating things to post on a historical timeline inside the school house, which would be a metal structure created by district high school students.

"(Students) will be able to go into the schoolhouse, review the history, experience class inside and explore the perspectives of kids 100 years ago sitting and learning in the same space," White said. "We hope the students will feel connected to their community, recognize the amazing people who have shaped it and take pride in caring for the land and its people."

White said that different classes of students will focus on their grade's social studies standards while creating models, recordings or digital presentations to add to the timeline.

"They may create posters of important people, share how they influenced the Yampa Valley and hang them on the timeline according to when they brought change to the community," White said. "Each year classes can add, update or change the information they display. And each year, students will spend time inside the schoolhouse learning and discussing where they are from and why our valley is so special."

Additional contributions for the restoration project included Lowe's Toolbox for Education, Routt County Museum and Heritage Fund Advisory Board, Legacy Education Fund, Strawberry Park Elementary Student Council and private donations. SmartWool employees also volunteered to paint the building interior.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow