CLIFTON SPRINGS — The last time Bernie Klug moved the Coonsville schoolhouse, about nine years ago, was for the Manchester Highway Department.
“We really didn’t even get it on the road,” he said.
Tomorrow, he’ll be relocating it for the Midlakes One-Room Schoolhouse Committee, with the assistance of utility companies and Ontario County sheriff’s deputies on standby.
At around 11 a.m. Tuesday, Klug will move the building — originally constructed in 1928 — from Route 96 and County Road 7 to the Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School District campus. He’ll use eight airplane wheels for a house-moving rig.
Klug’s father first moved the schoolhouse in the 1970s, said Joy Wilkes, a member of the Midlakes community group that formed to preserve the building.
“I think we have lots of interest and lots of people. It’s going to be a slow move. It’s just a box, but it will look like a present,” said Mary Lue Mueller, also a member of the committee.
To prepare the building for the move, the roof was disassembled to avoid utility wires during transport; the building’s siding — which contains lead-based paint — was removed; and windows were taken out for restoration, Wilkes wrote in an e-mail. The school’s interior plaster was also removed because it was cracking and in disrepair, Wilkes wrote.
The building, which served students in grades one to eight, was first abandoned in the 1940s when centralization of school districts occurred. Students from the school chose between Clifton Springs and Manchester.
Around 1970, the Coonsville schoolhouse was moved a short distance away from the corner of Route 96 and County Road 7 for use as a storage facility by the Town of Manchester. When the town wanted to put in a salt barn for the highway department, the schoolhouse was moved again, leaving it unused on blocks.
A “Moving the Schoolhouse Celebration” will be held tomorrow on the Midlakes campus and include songs from the country schoolhouse days, schoolyard games and a guest book to sign. Hot dogs, soda and T-shirts will be available for purchase.
The 10- to 20-person schoolhouse committee has raised more than $40,000. Donations have come from a $10,000 grant from the Mary Hicks Preston Foundation, sales of T-shirts, a letter campaign and other fund raising activities.
The building will be used for field trips and is expected to be completed in June 2010.