MEEKER I Coal Creek School, the oldest school in Rio Blanco County still standing on its original location, is being restored by MM-Eight Construction to its original 1882 exterior appearance.
On May 19, after 124 years in darkness, the foundation was excavated by T&M Contracting, exposing the various size stones it had been firmly resting on. A crew from Mountain West Masonry and Stone arrived to clean and re-mortar the stones.
After the foundation was waterproofed, a drainage system was installed and the area was regraded to slope away from the structure.
The next painstaking process involves removing the non-original stucco from the exterior walls, the stones cleaned and the walls repainted. The roof structure will be repaired to meet present building codes and re-roofed with cedar shingles.
The gable ends and trim will be repaired or replaced to match the original appearance of the building recorded in early photos and Meeker Herald articles printed during construction.
Being on the National Register of Historic Places and Colorado State Register of Historic Properties requires specialized expertise in historic restoration for completing Phase I, although local contractors are being utilized by MM-Eight Construction as much as possible.
Phase I will be paid for by a State Historical Fund grant and donations and grants from various local and area businesses, organizations and private individuals.
As soon as the exterior is completed this summer, the restoration of the interior will begin.
At this time, about 25 percent of the amount needed to complete the interior has been raised.
Fund raisers, grants, volunteers and the donations of time, materials and supplies are needed to complete this project by the fall of 2017.
The group’s vision will hopefully be realized as Coal Creek School becomes an educational interpretive center for school children, the community and tourists to enjoy for another 125 years.
The first fundraiser to restore the interior of Coal Creek School will be at the Cattledog Trials this weekend.
The Rural School Project will be selling root beer floats at the Rio Blanco County Historical Society booth through Sunday. Please stop by to see the progress being made to preserve the history of the Rio Blanco County’s rural schools and/or to volunteer to help the group achieve its goal.