The Ayer CPC (Community Preservation Committee) voted April 4 to send the Sandy Pond School Association's Restoration Project fund application to the May 14 Town Meeting.
Irving Rockwood, Vice- President of the Association, explained the group's request of $108,000 for PHASE IA emergency work, will help make the 1868 one-room school house structurally sound. The foundation will be stabilized and leveled. There will be masonry repair on the outside and replacement of the old plaster ceiling, with some work to the ceiling joists. PHASE IB funding of $38,000 will come from other grants to address landscaping/ drainage issues and an electrical update.
"There won't be a huge visible difference, especially from the exterior, but this work will allow us to reach a longer-term goal of having the building open for public use."
The group envisions the school becoming a living history museum, where 21st century school children can visit for a day. This concept has been used in several other towns in the state and coordinates with the Massachusetts 3rd grade American History Curriculum Frameworks.
Sandy Pond School, now on the National Register of Historic Places, was built when the Town of Ayer was still part of Groton. It is the only one-room school left in the town, probably because it was made of brick and also because it has had a caretaking organization for over one hundred years.
Rockwood stated the group hopes to expand membership to find ways to fund maintenance and other community uses. The site could become a neighborhood pocket park.
If approved at Town Meeting, work on the structure could begin in August 2018. The historical preservation architectural firm Spencer, Sullivan & Vogt are supervising consultants for the project.