Preservation Efforts Recognized
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