Plans being finalized for Locust Grove School House

Pocopson historical commission briefs supervisors on design elements, schedule

By Mike McGann, Editor,

Pocopson Historical Commission chair Sarah Mims goes over details for the restoration of the Locust Grove School House with township supervisors Larissa McNemar and Steve Conary during Monday night's Board of Supervisors meeting.

POCOPSON — With time running out on grant money, the township’s Historical Commission is kicking restoration plans for the Locust Grove School House into high gear and commission chair Sarah Mims made a presentation to the board of supervisors, Monday night.

Mims walked the supervisors through the plans, which right now call for building public bathrooms in the basement of the building — although its possible that an external building will need to be built to house them. Obviously, both from a construction and operation standpoint, Mims noted, having the restrooms in the building will be less costly. Whether the basement plan is workable should be determined within the next four to six weeks, Mims said.

The somewhat thorny issue of handicapped access is being handled by designating a “path” rather than a walkway. Having an access path, rather than a paved or concrete walkway, reduces some of the requirements, including installing railings — which would limit options on the fairly tight property, not to mention the added expense.

The commission, Mims said, also expects to use tables and stools, rather than the one-piece desk/chair combination currently in the school room to increase flexibility of use. While the building will be used for field trips and other educational purposes during the day, the commission envisions it being used for other purposes, including public meetings, that would need a more flexible set up. In terms of historical accuracy, Mims said, both types of desks were used at the time the school opened, so either would be appropriate from a historical perspective.

There will be a raised platform at the front of the school room, which will offer some storage for educational materials — one of the things that that are being paid for by grant money, and which need to be purchased before the money expires. The need to buy and store those materials in a secure, dry environment puts additional pressure on the township to get the project underway as soon as possible.

The class room will have a stove — but it will be non-working, because of safety and environmental concerns. A central heating and cooling system will be installed in the building. In addition, the long-since removed walls for the boys and girls cloak rooms will be restored, offering a place for visiting students to hang coats and jackets.

Mims noted that there is some urgency to get the project under construction, as state grant money expires in June, 2011 — and the federal grants for the program are only good for two years.

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