PALMYRA TWP. (Pike) - Wallenpaupack Historical Society (WHS) is seeking to preserve the historic Paupack School building and to find a creative re-use of the structure which would benefit the community. The Society has called for a special town meeting at the Palmyra Township Building on Gumbletown Road Tuesday evening, July 29th at 7 p.m.
PALMYRA TWP. (Pike) -Wallenpaupack Historical Society (WHS) is seeking to preserve the historic Paupack School building and to find a creative re-use of the structure which would benefit the community. The Society has called for a special town meeting at the Palmyra Township Building on Gumbletown Road Tuesday evening, July 29th at 7 p.m.
"All Palmyra Township (Pike) residents are invited to attend to brainstorm ideas of what kinds of entities would best serve the needs of the community," said Audrey Graybill, who is chairing the effort. "All ideas are welcomed."
Paupack School, located along Route 507, operated from 1925 to 1988. Originally it served to bring together students who would have attended the two, one-room schools that were displaced by the creation of Lake Wallenpaupack.
The Township bought the school in 2001 from the Wallenpaupack Area School District. The cost was $100,000, at $5,000 a year without interest.
Township Administrator Jo-Ann Rose said that WHS officials approached the supervisors about using the Township meeting room for a public gathering to discuss the future of the old school. Rose said that the supervisors weren't opposed to the idea of creating a community center there, but indicated the Township lacks the funds to make it happen.
The facility was purchased with the stipulation that it be used by not-for-profit organizations and activities, or a government function.
Rose stated that the building has never been occupied since it was a school, although there have been various ideas. At one time it was considered for a branch of the Pike County Public Library. A nonprofit day care center was proposed there; at that time the Township improved the parking lot but the proposed tenant backed out. Another resident had tried to gain support for a possible community center.
The last use approved for the school was in August 2011 when Boy Scout Troop 129 asked permission to hold meetings there.
In addition to the parking lot, the Township has invested considerably to repair the roof, do maintenance inside and put in a new septic, Rose said.
Rose stated that the building would need to be brought to compliance by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), including installing a wheelchair ramp and a handicapped-accessible restroom.
Graybill said that while there is a lot of sentimental attachment to the old school, that in itself is not a strong enough argument to keep the building. She said the old school has much potential for community use. The intent of the Society, she said, is to start the discussion, organize a group of volunteers and see what can be done to preserve the school, provide for the Township's debt on the property and make it useful once again for the community.
She said it is her desire to see some concerned groups or entities be able to use part of the school building as a location, while keeping part of it for community activities.
The WHS could also benefit, she affirmed. The Society has been discussing what may be done with the historic Williams House just down Route 507, where their main museum collection is kept and shown to the public. The old house requires a great deal of financial upkeep. Society members, however, have not reached a clear consensus. If the Society were to sell the Williams House at some point, the Paupack School is seen as a possible alternative location.