A summer vacation for school: Building taking a trip
The future of a school from the past is nearing the present.
If all goes as planned, the relocation of the Cardiff School in south Glenwood will be moved to its new location in the city-owned Conservancy Park by the end of August.
Once moved from its current location on the east side of Airport Road, the school will again be used to educate children. But rather than being the place to teach kids about the three Rs of readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic, the 24-by-40-foot school will provide a base for educating kids on a different R: river ecology.
A concrete foundation for the school was poured in Conservancy Park last year, but legal issues between the owner of the school, Mike Alsdorf, and the city delayed the move. With the legal issues resolved, it’s now a matter of setting up a temporary storage facility for Alsdorf’s tools and supplies, then hiring a moving company to prepare the 19th-century structure for its big move.
Alsdorf, owner of Downvalley Gutters, has been using the school to store his tools. He agreed to donate the structure to the Red Mountain Friends of Historic Preservation, a group created for the sole purpose of moving and restoring historic structures. He plans to build a new building to permanently store his tools and supplies, said Red Mountain Friends member Marice Doll.
The temporary structure for Alsdorf’s equipment should arrive between Aug. 11 and 16, Doll said. Once the storage unit arrives, it will take a few days to assemble. Friends members will also set up moving dates with Bailey Movers once the storage unit arrives.
“It will take three days to move the school,” Doll said. “There’s quite a bit of prep work to do.”
The move itself will cost $12,000, but including Glenwood Springs’ $8,000 donation, Friends members raised a total of $25,000 for the move. The building foundation cost $11,000.
Pointing to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the wildfires and the economic downturn, Doll said, “We had everything against us and we still raised $25,000.”
“Who’s not going to win in this?” she asked. “You’re saving a structure that merits being saved and it will be great for the kids,” she said.
Once the school building is moved, Red Mountain Friends will restore and maintain it. The city maintains Conservancy Park.
The school was built in 1887 for the residents of the bustling coal town of Cardiff. At its peak it accommodated 75 students and two teachers and the population of the town was 400.
By around 1936, however, the coal boom had ended and the town died out, leaving the school barren. But even after all these years, it still has some remarkable treasures from the past, Doll explained in a 2001 interview.
“It has the original floor, slate blackboard and lights,” she said.
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AS OF THURSDAY, MAY 13