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 What would you do with a 1925 Schoolhouse?
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gr8tfulmom
True Blue Farmgirl

143 Posts

Sarah
South Haven MI
143 Posts

Posted - Oct 13 2009 :  1:43:12 PM  Show Profile
Dh and I put in a very lowball offer on an old school, with the provision we would keep a portion for community use of some sort. Our offer was accepted and now we own a school. Long story short, dh's business (which is kitty-corner from the school) has sucked in way more time and $ than we had originally planned and left us (mostly me) with little to no time to do anything but immediate things (the roofs!), and no extra $ to put in, coupled with the fact that that my partner and best friend got a job on the other side of the state and has no time to devote right now either.

The current plan is to empty the plumbing and shut it down for the winter (there is no insulation in the original building), get our plan together and go great guns in the spring.

It is in relatively good shape and I can see many things being an asset to the small village its in. That's where I'm open to suggestions. I would like a small sewing shop, but don't think the area would support it long term, a second hand store, bakery, restaurant and on and on. It is just a neat old building and could be so many things. Check out this original folding wood wall


There is 12,000+ sq feet to deal with. 4 classrooms in the main building plus an office and a separate 1990 gymnatorium/lunchroom building behind

more pics can be seen here http://theoldgrandjunctionschoolbuilding.blogspot.com/

I would love to hear any and all ideas you all have


Sarah

http://symbioticstitches.blogspot.com/

frannie
True Blue Farmgirl

2246 Posts

fran
bonham texas
USA
2246 Posts

Posted - Oct 13 2009 :  3:04:02 PM  Show Profile  Send frannie a Yahoo! Message
first, sara, i just have to say congratulations on acquiring this historic building.
while i cant say i have been successful in such a project(my hubby and i own a grocery store built in 1907) i have spent a large amount of time fantasizing about it.
someone i know who was successful in starting a business that was part of their dreams told me once. dont wait till it is all done , just start small and grow. our building was huge and a little overwhelming. so my friend said take a portion of the building and just make a sign that says, work in progress, excuse our construction or something to that affect. and if ya cant be open 5 days a week, open 3 days. etc.
what kind of fantasies do you have about the building. as far as the community goes it seems if you let a community event be there one evening a month that could work as giving back to the community.
do you plan on having a kitchen in there?
our fantasy was to have food and cook good food and have a gathering for americana music cause that was what we were in to any way.
we kinda got side tracked with taking care of our aging parents, and then the next thing we knew we were surrounded by grandchildren,,,,so for us i guess it just wasnt meant to be.
but please tell me some of your dreams for the building?

love
frannie in texas
home of "green"crafts,
where no scrap is left behind
(http://abunnystale.wordpress.com/)

www.angeltree.etsy.com
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Cindy Lou
True Blue Farmgirl

2325 Posts

Susan
Lonsdale MN
USA
2325 Posts

Posted - Oct 13 2009 :  3:22:37 PM  Show Profile
Off on an adventure! It sounds really exciting!
You mentioned a lunchroom, was any equipment left from serving lunches? I'm betting the stoves, coolers etc were already removed but you may already have the bare bones for a restaurant kitchen/bakery. Maybe one of the classrooms could be reserved for community events or the gym space.
My hometown school became an antique auction center. They could have big crowds in the gym even when stuff was displayed. The auctioneer could divide things by room for specialty sales. There is a small second hand store in one classroom, open a couple of days a week. Most of it is empty
In a neighboring town an old warehouse was turned into a complex; restaurant, bar, bed and breakfast, day care center.
Maybe you can rent out space, a room or two.

"You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd.....
But you can be happy if you've a mind to. All you've gotta do in knuckle down, buckle down and do it, do it, do it!"
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LisaTwo
True Blue Farmgirl

127 Posts

Lisa
Hampden Maine
USA
127 Posts

Posted - Oct 13 2009 :  3:24:48 PM  Show Profile
I'm not sure what you should do with it, but wow it was fun to see all the pics. Don't you wish you would win the lottery? Good luck.

Smiles,
Lisa

http://pinkporches.blogspot.com/

*And you know when the truth is told-- you can get what you want--or you can just get old.* (Billy Joel)
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frannie
True Blue Farmgirl

2246 Posts

fran
bonham texas
USA
2246 Posts

Posted - Oct 13 2009 :  3:44:19 PM  Show Profile  Send frannie a Yahoo! Message
wow, i totally missed the pics, they are wonderful and the built ins are beautiful.

love
frannie in texas
home of "green"crafts,
where no scrap is left behind
(http://abunnystale.wordpress.com/)

www.angeltree.etsy.com
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gr8tfulmom
True Blue Farmgirl

143 Posts

Sarah
South Haven MI
143 Posts

Posted - Oct 13 2009 :  3:57:39 PM  Show Profile
The lottery would be great, but I'd have to play first, lol.

Frannie, I'm pretty sure that's how it will start, very small! I've surface researched historic places in Michigan and would have to get a lot of ducks in a row for them, but I definitely think it has potential to get on our state register. The history in it is amazing. There is a michigan basement room that kids starting in the 40's snuck into and left their signatures, it takes my breath away every time I'm down there.

Susan, I love seeing old buildings get new life and hearing about what goes into them.

The original plan was for a restaurant in the new building (no equipment, they bussed food in) which would require putting the whole kitchen in. That was what my BF and I were planning to do together. In the big building we planned to do a secondhand/antique/handmade goods store, a community room to either develop a non-profit, possibly preservation of traditional arts/crafts (worked as a community organizer for a few years) or donate the space to a local non-profit. That leaves the 2 rooms that are divided by the wall and the basement. The plan for the rooms was just available hall rental/banquet space so we can leave it as original as possible and not have much overhead, and there is a local computer guy interested in renting some space in the basement for his side computer work. Oh and we plan on donating space for local artists in the main hall too.

What has thrown me for a loop is finding out that there is a need for organic baked goods, on the level of production and distribution to local stores, approx 20 stores semi-locally. Not what I planned, but something I like, am pretty good at and can see myself happily doing. Which would also meld nicely with a coffeeshop/lunchonette idea. But I think that would do better in the main building rather than the gym bldg. Also there has been an interest in renting out gym time, so I'm just trying to figure out what stuff where, and if I'm missing anything right in front of my face ;)

Thanks for taking the time to check it out :D

Sarah

http://symbioticstitches.blogspot.com/
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Miss2Missus
True Blue Farmgirl

407 Posts

Karen
Asheville NC
USA
407 Posts

Posted - Oct 13 2009 :  4:30:18 PM  Show Profile
wow its so beautiful and kinda creppy (i have thing about big old empty buildings) ive i think of anything ill let you know.

Karen ^_^

http://apple-and-eve.blogspot.com/
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knitnpickinatune
True Blue Farmgirl

1140 Posts

Sherrie
Gardena California
USA
1140 Posts

Posted - Oct 13 2009 :  7:06:31 PM  Show Profile
Isn't that cool....
My first thought is you could have some great acoustic jams in there,perhaps rent some of the rooms to music/theatre teachers-esp with a stage,you could have a community theatre group rent from you in addition to local folk/bluegrass clubs.

http://www.pluckyfarmgirl.blogspot.com
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@MandolinChick on Twitter
fingerpickin Farmgirl #702
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gr8tfulmom
True Blue Farmgirl

143 Posts

Sarah
South Haven MI
143 Posts

Posted - Oct 13 2009 :  8:15:01 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Miss2Missus

wow its so beautiful and kinda creppy (i have thing about big old empty buildings) ive i think of anything ill let you know.

Karen ^_^

http://apple-and-eve.blogspot.com/



Funny you should say that. We've been told that it's haunted by a maintenance man who worked there in the 30s. I've been there alone and completely talked to the building - nothin doin yet

And heck yeah on tunes knitpickinatune'! A friend has an outdoor music venue that drew 1500-2000 folks for a few weekends this summer, so there is definitely band traffic during the seasonal months. We had talked about possibly doing any kind of music in the playground/ball field once or twice a month in the summer, if you want to play, play kind of thing to get started. Not sure if there are enough (or any) functioning bands in the area that can put out monthly. Most of them that I know hit up barns, basements and such then pay for studio time when they need it. Old time community dances were talked about as well.

There are just so many possibilities that it is hard to look at it from a business point of view rather than an emotional one - I know we need both for sure, but it has to at least make sense..right?

Thanks for joining me on this crazy journey Ladies

http://symbioticstitches.blogspot.com/

Edited by - gr8tfulmom on Oct 14 2009 10:48:57 AM
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Nancy Gartenman
True Blue Farmgirl

8691 Posts

Nancy
West Seneca New York
USA
8691 Posts

Posted - Oct 14 2009 :  04:50:01 AM  Show Profile
How about a day care center for the five and under. Or an adult center for the 60 and older. We have one here that has a lunch everyday amd all kinds of planned things, womens groups, trips etc.

www.Nancy-Jo.blogspot.com
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Ga Girl
True Blue Farmgirl

2355 Posts

Karen
Meansville Ga.
USA
2355 Posts

Posted - Oct 14 2009 :  05:59:29 AM  Show Profile
No ideas but I love the old building and cant wait to see more pics as yall move along in your progress! Congrats, Karen

Create in me a pure heart,O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalms 51:10
www.KKJD1.etsy.com
http://farmgirlingastyle.blogspot.com/
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1badmamawolf
True Blue Farmgirl

2199 Posts

Teresa
"Bent Fence Farms" Ca
USA
2199 Posts

Posted - Oct 14 2009 :  09:49:48 AM  Show Profile
Sarah, how about combining Nancy's ideas, "day care" and "adult center", alot of children do not have grandparents for many reasons, passed on, ill, live far away, etc. Also a lot of grandparents don't have grandchildren for various reasons, none born yet, live far away, etc., its a thought anyway. An arts and crafts center with space to sell, antiques, bakery, these are also great ideas, but my idea would be a teaching/learning center, for kids that are having a tuff time in school and need a tutor, also a place for homeschooled kids to be schooled if the parents don't have the resources at home.

"Treat the earth well, it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children"
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gr8tfulmom
True Blue Farmgirl

143 Posts

Sarah
South Haven MI
143 Posts

Posted - Oct 14 2009 :  10:47:50 AM  Show Profile
That was talked about in relation to using the community space as a computer center where there could be an exchange of info - from both the wise old folks and the tech savvy kids. There is a pretty good senior program in the area that has been running for a number of years, but they are usually looking for new stuff to do...Hadn't thought about the HSers - good one there!

We've had a couple folks inquire about renting space for a daycare, which I would be totally cool with, but the regulations seem to be pretty tough.

Thanks ladies!
Sarah

http://symbioticstitches.blogspot.com/
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Cindy Lou
True Blue Farmgirl

2325 Posts

Susan
Lonsdale MN
USA
2325 Posts

Posted - Oct 15 2009 :  07:45:49 AM  Show Profile
The coffeeshop/ luncheonette has real potential as a community gathering spot. My sister-in-law and her husband took over a grimy failing restaurant in a vry small town, cleaned it up and served a couple of kinds of soup a day, sandwiches, home-baked pie and coffee. It worked so well that the owner decided to double their rent for the next year. They got scared and left it, sadly. But this is your place! You are building for yourself, Yahoo!!

"You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd.....
But you can be happy if you've a mind to. All you've gotta do in knuckle down, buckle down and do it, do it, do it!"
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vintagediva1
True Blue Farmgirl

1251 Posts

Michele
Brighton Michigan
USA
1251 Posts

Posted - Oct 15 2009 :  3:51:10 PM  Show Profile
How about a local artist's coop where people could sell their home crafted items
Michele

www.2vintagedivas.etsy.com
www.sissyandsisterstitch.etsy.com

Love that good ole vintage junk
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jpbluesky
True Blue Farmgirl

6064 Posts

Jeannie
Florida
USA
6064 Posts

Posted - Oct 18 2009 :  2:04:23 PM  Show Profile
thank you for being the kind of person who cares about such buildings. Those folding walls are wonderful. I think as time passes, this building will tell you what to do with it. Just listen.

Farmgirl Sister # 31

www.blueskyjeannie.blogspot.com

Psalm 51: 10-13
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Diane B Carter
True Blue Farmgirl

1270 Posts

Diane
Blasdell N.Y.
USA
1270 Posts

Posted - Oct 18 2009 :  3:20:54 PM  Show Profile
About 9 towns away from me someone purchased an old mental/psych/TB building that was in fair condition and they rented out classrooms. So on the week-ends it would open, one room had trains for sale one had homemade blankets, alot had garagesale items while some sold Amish funiture some sold Christmas and some sold baked goods. They opened the cafeteria and sold soup, sandwiches and the best desserts. People rented the rooms from the person who owned the building. I also heard it was haunted and in the summer and halloween they gave tours at night with a pizza party and for $50. you got to stay until 5am if you wanted to. It was very busy in the summer time but because it was miles from anything most people would not go in the winter. I haven't been in a few years I should check it out.
I hope you have good luck with your school the pictures look great.
I almost forgot I met some one who his wife and him turned the 3ad story of the school they brought into a beautiful house. The second floor housed their pet raccoon, and she had a lot of closet space. He took over a few rooms on the 1st floor and sold things antiques he would say Junk others would say.. I just know it was really nice and so were the people. I think they were from SD.

Hope all your days are Sunnydays.
dianebcarterhotmailcom.blogspot.com
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gr8tfulmom
True Blue Farmgirl

143 Posts

Sarah
South Haven MI
143 Posts

Posted - Oct 24 2009 :  4:52:56 PM  Show Profile
Thanks for all the thoughts girls.

We have so much to think about and so many ideas can work together or be added on as we go, the combinations go on and on, narrowing it down to where we start is the hard part. For the immediate future we will still be working on the building as the plumber that came to winterize said he was in over his head and needed a boiler guy to do it with him. That was Wed. so hopefully I will hear back from him soon and get it put to bed for the winter. I'll keep you updated as we go and thanks so much for your input!

Sarah

Diane, there are some great pictures of old psych buildings and grounds in a flicker pool for abandoned dwellings, so ornate.


http://symbioticstitches.blogspot.com/
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Sarahpauline
True Blue Farmgirl

672 Posts

sarah
Ringgold GA
USA
672 Posts

Posted - Oct 24 2009 :  10:14:10 PM  Show Profile
I was just thinking about an artist school, pottery, painters, mixed media etc all having studio space and gallery shows. Its fabulous space. Happily I would hand over my right ear to own it. I put a bid in on a school this year too but it was not accepted. :(

Antigues too could be a great idea.

Not all those who wander are lost...
www.SarahPauline.com
www.AbraxasBaroque.com
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gr8tfulmom
True Blue Farmgirl

143 Posts

Sarah
South Haven MI
143 Posts

Posted - Oct 25 2009 :  07:00:01 AM  Show Profile
That's too bad about the one you bid on, but keep looking. Since falling into this building I've learned of many other abandoned spaces in our area. For any building you can get the owner's name at the assessor's office and go from there.



Sarah

http://symbioticstitches.blogspot.com/
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southerncrossgirl
True Blue Farmgirl

631 Posts

Gena
Harmony NC
USA
631 Posts

Posted - Oct 25 2009 :  09:29:42 AM  Show Profile
I have a friend that also bought an old schoolhouse. She uses it like Michele suggested. The local artist sell their wares there on the weekends. They also offer baked goods etc.. It has been working well for her. I am sure she gets a commission from each vendor. Good luck!

"A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes"==Cinderella
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knit1tat2
True Blue Farmgirl

57 Posts

Lorna Jean
Pender Nebraska
USA
57 Posts

Posted - Oct 26 2009 :  3:46:05 PM  Show Profile  Send knit1tat2 a Yahoo! Message
Hi, I see this is in Grand Island, is that in Nebraska?(a nice drive from where I live).
I've see doing something like that too, only using a local house for a store. Upstairs would be apartment, the downstairs would be a shop/studio/coffee/tea bar.
If you are in NE, please email me personally if you can, or let me know, and we'll have a long chat! Lorna Jean
(ps, I can do something about that haunting too!)

we create our own economy
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gr8tfulmom
True Blue Farmgirl

143 Posts

Sarah
South Haven MI
143 Posts

Posted - Oct 26 2009 :  6:33:51 PM  Show Profile
Hey there Lorna, the school is in Grand Junction Michigan, so a bit of a drive from NE ;) I really wish I would see/hear/feel/smell something, I'm as open as I can be and have seen nothing, though there are some folks in the village who swear that he still lives there.

Gena, would your friend have a website by chance? I love seeing projects along these lines.


http://symbioticstitches.blogspot.com/
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southerncrossgirl
True Blue Farmgirl

631 Posts

Gena
Harmony NC
USA
631 Posts

Posted - Oct 27 2009 :  04:36:39 AM  Show Profile
Sarah, I don't think she does, but I'll find out.

"A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes"==Cinderella
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Bonnie Ellis
True Blue Farmgirl

2474 Posts

Bonnie
Minneapolis Minnesota
USA
2474 Posts

Posted - Oct 27 2009 :  7:52:10 PM  Show Profile
Winter nights are great for dreaming. Where is this school house. Would it draw surrounding people for learning? Would it support a B and B. or a cooking school. In Grand Rapids, Minnesota they took the old school and turned it into many things. Maybe they could help give you some ideas. I can see a tearoom, a restaurant called the kindergarten, a quilt store, farmers market, babyland, general store.

Bonnie

grandmother and orphan farmgirl
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gr8tfulmom
True Blue Farmgirl

143 Posts

Sarah
South Haven MI
143 Posts

Posted - Nov 03 2009 :  4:05:48 PM  Show Profile
Thanks for the thoughts Bonnie. I have checked out the GR MN school online, it is very cool. I wish the area would support a B &B or cooking school, but it is in a pretty rural and financially depressed area, and we are a bit far from the big Lake to draw the big summer crowd, but we do have a bunch of inland lake summer folks in the area. I'm kind of worried that it will only make it seasonally, but with the right mix of services and products I'm hoping it could translate into an online presence too. I just want to be able to keep it self sufficient so dh (who runs all of our money) isn't having to take care of one of my crazy adventures!

Thanks again for your thoughts all!

http://symbioticstitches.blogspot.com/
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