Preser­va­tion Ef­forts Rec­og­nized

Catron Courier - - News -

The Ari­zona Preser­va­tion Foun­da­tion an­nounced the com­mu­nity-based ef­fort to pre­serve the Springerville School House, and its trans­for­ma­tion into the new Springerville Her­itage Cen­ter, has been rec­og­nized with a Gov­er­nor’s Her­itage Preser­va­tion Honor Award. The award will be pre­sented at the 2014 Ari­zona Historic Preser­va­tion Con­fer­ence in Rio Rico June 13. One of nine projects hon­ored this year, the School­house re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion project is now el­i­gi­ble for the se­lec­tion of the 2014 Govenor’s Grand Award in Her­itage Preser­va­tion.

The ren­o­va­tion of the historic Springerville School into what has be­come the Springerville Her­itage Cen­ter has been a work in progress for more than ten years. The Town of Springerville and the White Moun­tain His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety part­nered in this project which has been made pos­si­ble through grants from the State Historic Preser­va­tion Of­fice, a fed­eral ap­pro­pri­a­tion, fund­ing from the Town of Springerville, lo­cal fund rais­ing ef­forts, and gen­er­ous do­na­tions from lo­cal fam­i­lies. Sev­eral fam­i­lies made sub­stan­tial do­na­tions and there­fore have a room in the Her­itage Cen­ter named for the fam­ily: the Emma Udall John­son fam­ily, the Joseph and Emma Udall fam­ily, the Pete and Con­nie Hunt fam­ily, and the Becker fam­ily. The fund­ing re­quire­ments were greatly re­duced be­cause the town of Springerville pub­lic works de­part­ment and vol­un­teers did al­most all the con­struc­tion.

The orig­i­nal Springerville School­house was con­structed on this site in 1884 and im­me­di­ately be­came the heart of the town. In 1928 a new build­ing was con­structed. From the time of the first school­house, the struc­ture be­gan serv­ing as the pri­mary ed­u­ca­tional and recre­ational fa­cil­ity for mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions in the Round Val­ley re­gion. The build­ing’s ed­u­ca­tional func­tion was re­placed by a new ele­men­tary school in 1983 and the school­house was deeded to the Town of Springerville. Un­for­tu­nately, with the down­turn in the lo­cal econ­omy, the school­house un­der­went a long pe­riod of ne­glect, with the build­ing be­ing aban­doned and con­demned in 2004. The town of Springerville be­gan the process of plan­ning for de­mo­li­tion. This sparked a com­mu­nity re­ac­tion urg­ing a bet­ter fate for the beloved struc­ture, and so the Save Our School Com­mit­tee was formed to explore the

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