The Bloomfield Schoolhouse is good to go.
Chris Aquinaldo, a member of the Historic Review Board and a professional contractor, worked on renovating the historic structure to allow it to reopen to the public.
“I’m not sure [whether] it took on water, but the foundation was failing, and the center rafters were starting to buckle in the middle,” he said. “They had put in some temporary jacks, but it wasn’t holding it well. So, basically for safety concerns, [they] closed it until we could get in there and rebuild the structure.”
Before the work was started, former City Manager Alan Guard was in talks with the City Council about organizing a community volunteer effort to paint the Bloomfield Schoolhouse, Aquinaldo said.
“The last I heard, obviously since Alan left everything’s went up the air, but the last I heard talking to Lenette Cox is that the Museum Board decided they wanted to leave it as is, to showcase it’s character,” he said.
The rotten and damaged parts of the structure have all been fixed, he said. The only repairs at this point are cosmetic such as scraping and repainting.
All the structural work has been done and the city has inspected it, so it meets requirements, he said.
The work cost a total of $24,191.75, which Aquinaldo said was paid using a grant for historic structures.
“Originally, the only [other] thing … we talked about was painting it, making it look prettier, but I think they want to keep more of that rustic worn look to it,” he said.
The work was completed over a span of two months, he said. However, it was only about two weeks’ worth of work.
“We did it over two months, but we had probably a week for foundation and then we had to free up my crews to do the structural repairs. So then it took us three days to do the structural repairs and a day to do the roof, total work it was about two weeks,” Aquinaldo said.
The rainy weather also had a part in delaying it, he said.
“My guys are pretty apt in dealing with those types of structures; it’s what we specialize in,” he said. “We don’t want to farm that out to subs that aren’t as familiar with it as my guys are.”
Scheduling workers and the weather slowed it down, he said.
“There’s nothing that’s really structural that needs to be fixed anymore,” he said. “The structure itself is pretty sound now.”
Now that the structure is repaired, it will be the Bloomfield Schoolhouse Museum, he said.
“They’re actually moving all the Bloomfield Schoolhouse stuff from the Irick Museum on the Square, and they’re going to do a new exhibit at the Irick Museum for the history of the fire department and the police department, and all the schoolhouse stuff is going to go over to the school,” he said.
Local elementary schools regularly set up pioneer schoolhouse day fieldtrips at the Bloomfield Schoolhouse, he said.
“They’ll continue to use it for that and also have the schoolhouse museum there,” he said. “Before it became substandard, that’s what they were using it for previously, so they would have kids come over and they did a day in the life of a pioneer school child.”