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OLD SCHOOL GETS ATTENTION OF NEW STUDENTS

The old Sanborn School is being remodeled by vocational students from the Orleans-Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services center here.

The school, which was moved to a new location in February, will probably open to the public as a museum next year, according to Gary Townsend, building chairman for the Sanborn Area Historical Society.

"We feel very fortunate for the help we've had," Townsend said.

The 66-by-20-foot wooden building was originally located at Saunders Settlement Road and West Street, where it opened about 1924 as a one-room schoolhouse for grades six through eight.

The building became a public library in 1953, after local schools began to centralize.

When the new Sanborn Public Library was built at West and Niagara streets in 1975, the old school reverted to the Niagara-Wheatfield school district.

It was used for storage and offices until the Niagara-Wheatfield school board decided to build a new elementary school on the site.

Townsend said the school was slated for demolition. "A group of us who had gone to that school got together and asked them to donate it to the Historical Society," Townsend said.

The district sold the school to the Town of Lewiston for $1, and the town purchased two acres of land at the southwest corner of West and Niagara streets from Conrail for $7,500.

In February, Farley Riggers and Movers of Lockport plucked the old school off its foundation and hauled it about a third of a mile to the new location, where a foundation was poured by Twin Lakes Concrete Inc. of Pendleton.

That was the conclusion of the professional work on the site. In late September, BOCES students started remodeling work.

Townsend said they enclosed the building area and installed handicapped accessible facilities in the bathrooms.

Work still to come includes a ramp for the handicapped, new siding and possibly landscaping.

Townsend said the Historical Society benefits from a dedicated source of funding in the Lewiston town budget, which gave the society about $35,000 this year.

Thus, there has been no need for private fund-raising for the school project, Townsend said.

He said the society has spent $12,000 on the project so far, for moving the building, installing the new foundation and building materials.

He said it will cost another $12,000 to $15,000 to complete the work.

There were no furnishings inside the old school when it was moved, Townsend said.

He said some schoolroom furniture has been offered to the society, but it is not yet in position to accept the donations.

The society plans to use part of the building as a re-creation of a period school, and the rest will become a local history museum.

Townsend said there is an abandoned railroad siding on the property. A railroad display, including an old engine and rail car, is being envisioned as part of a historical park.

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