140-year-old school getting new life on P.E.I.
Building in Victoria-by-the-Sea to be used as a community office and rental space
The community of Victoria-by-the-Sea is giving new life to its historic former school by painstakingly converting it into office and rental space one nail, one board at a time.
The schoolhouse was opened in 1873 and served as a school for 100 years until it closed in 1973. Over the years, it's been used for kindergarten space and hosted countless community gatherings.
"It is almost a new building," Ben Smith said of the transformation. "We're really happy to kind of join the old and the new, and this building if it wasn't renovated, it would soon be gone too far, and so it's really great to see it preserved."
Plans include converting the former two-room schoolhouse into one large room complete with hardwood floors.
There will be space for two offices, one for rent and one for the community.
Solar panels and a heat pump are also being installed to reduce energy costs.
"They used to have suppers quite often for the community, and if this wasn't fixed up, then the usage would be very limited," Smith said. "We have a lot of public buildings here for the size of the village, and they all require maintenance and upkeep, so this one is kind of starting a new era being more self-sufficient."
The project is part of almost $650,000 in federal funding to help the municipality carry out protective upgrades to the 90- metre-long seawall, create a pedestrian pathway to connect the popular waterfront with green-space and business areas, and develop recreational greenspace with visitor parking.
Brenda Boudreau, of the Victoria Historical Society, said she's pleased to see the former school is being repurposed.
She'd like to see space inside the building used to display local historical artifacts.
"That would be our dream as a historical association that there could be a designated space to display the heritage of not only the school, but also of the village itself," she said.
"It's a heritage village, that's part of our charm and part of what attracts people to come here and step back in time, so the schoolhouse being 140-plus years old, would be an ideal place to have an interpretive display of the artifacts we have."
The community hopes to be able to move to move into its new space sometime in the next month or two, and have it available to rent by early spring.
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