Battlement Mesa Schoolhouse gets grant for restoration |

Battlement Mesa Schoolhouse gets grant for restoration

BATTLEMENT MESA – The Grand Valley Historical Society received a grant from the Colorado Historical Fund for the Battlement Mesa Schoolhouse project.

The Historical Society received a letter earlier this month from the Historical Fund that said it would commit up to $133,000 in matching funds for the estimated $170,000 needed to restore the stone school house, said Grand Valley Historical Society president Judi Hayward of Parachute.

“When you walk in, you’re going to feel that you’re in a building in the 1930s or ’40s,” said Hayward of the schoolhouse, which was used until the mid 1940s.

The schoolhouse is the focus of the Grand Valley Historical Society.

“This is a very awesome building,” said Hayward. “So many people think this schoolhouse is just something else,” she said.

The grant will only pay to restore the building. It won’t pay for improvements to the property like a parking lot or septic system, said Hayward.

Among the planned improvements are restoring the rock walls, wood floor and window frames, and finding a new home for a colony of bats that has taken up residence in the building.

So far the Grand Valley Historical Society has raised about $20,000. Half of that money was donated by architectural consultant Bob Sterling, who was paid $10,000 to do an assessment of the building when the historical society took control of the schoolhouse in 2000.

According to Hayward, Sterling returned his $10,000 fee at a press conference Tuesday, donating it to the restoration.

The Colorado Historical Fund is an arm of the Colorado Historical Society, and pays for grants with money from the state lottery.

The schoolhouse, built in 1897, is on Battlement Mesa between the Battlement Mesa Cemetery and St. John Middle School. It was built to be used as a church by George Siprelle, who was a stonemason in the area, said Hayward.

He agreed to let school be held there Monday through Friday and to host a social on Saturday nights.

Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 535

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