Star­land County moves to pro­tect Spring­wa­ter School

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail sub­mit­ted

Star­land County sees a fu­ture in its past and is look­ing into how it can take care of a unique his­tor­i­cal build­ing.

Star­land CAO Shirley Bre­mer tells The Mail they are work­ing on se­cur­ing ti­tle to the Spring­wa­ter School.

“We are hop­ing to do a ti­tle trans­fer, but first we have to find the orig­i­nal di­rec­tors of the Spring­wa­ter Homestead Foun­da­tion, that’s what I have been work­ing on,” said Bre­mer.

She ex­plains that coun­cil made a mo­tion that it would be agree­able to tak­ing over the ti­tle.

“The rea­son we need ti­tle is then we can ap­ply to for her­itage grants,” she ex­plains. “We would also des­ig­nate as a Mu­nic­i­pal His­toric Re­source and then we are able to ap­ply for her­itage type grants mainly to keep the build­ing in good enough re­pair to keep it stand­ing.”

The Mail re­ported on the con­di­tion and his­tory of the Spring­wa­ter School in Au­gust of last year. This is when a group of tourists hap­pened upon the one-room school. The Spring­wa­ter area north of Michichi was opened to home­steading in 1910, and by 1913, mem­bers of the com­mu­nity be­gan pe­ti­tion­ing for a school.

It was built in 1922 by a stone­ma­son name Shields. It was used as a school and then in 1952 was sold to the Ma­jes­tic Far­rell Lake Women’s In­sti­tute for $200. From there, it took on a sec­ond life as a com­mu­nity cen­tre and hosted ev­ery­thing from bri­dal show­ers to wed­dings. In 1995 the Spring­wa­ter Homestead Foun­da­tion was formed. Over the last few years, the Delia His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety has been act­ing as care­taker.

“The Delia His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety has been look­ing after it and have been do­ing a great job of patch­ing up this and fix­ing up that, and lin­seed oil the floors ev­ery year to keep it up and we are hop­ing they will still work with us,” said Bre­mer, adding she ac­knowl­edges it is a big re­spon­si­bil­ity for the vol­un­teers.

Bre­mer said that rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Al­berta Cul­ture and Tourism have toured the site and see it as a wor­thy build­ing to up­keep. If it were des­ig­nated a his­tor­i­cal site and the county was to se­cure a grant, the re­pairs and restora­tion would have to be done with his­tor­i­cal ac­cu­racy in mind.

It is so neat that peo­ple can drive up and go in­side, and that is what we are hop­ing for. It’s a great place to go and look around.” CAO Shirley Bre­mer Star­land County

“When you are do­ing any­thing with her­itage grants you have to com­ply. For ex­am­ple, if it had cedar shakes on it, that is what you re­pair it with. You don’t put tin on it and be done. You have to re­place with as close to the ma­te­rial they used orig­i­nally,” said Bre­mer.

Over­all the build­ing is in good shape, how­ever, she says there is some ex­te­rior work such as re­plac­ing some shin­gles and re­seal­ing the mor­tar to keep mois­ture out of the joints is needed.

“It is amaz­ing that the site is un­locked and peo­ple go in it and tour,” said Bre­mer. “It is so neat that peo­ple can drive up and go in­side, and that is what we are hop­ing for. It’s a great place to go and look around.”

Some vis­i­tors check­ing out the Spring­wa­ter School. Star­land County is look­ing to se­cure the ti­tle for the his­toric build­ing in or­der to help main­tain the site.

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