What has been happening with efforts to save the Wooler School?
We have been very busy since the conception of this project! Last spring, an independent evaluation of the Schoolhouse was completed that recommended it be provided with provincial heritage protection. An environmental assessment of the property was finished in the summer, a structural engineering inspection of the Schoolhouse was completed in the fall, and a hydrology study to look at well and septic issues was started in May.
Since January we have been working with Moira Brothers Properties, the current owner of the building, on a plan to restore the Schoolhouse and return it to service as a non-profit community centre for Wooler, including a focus on services for youth and seniors and preserving local history.
Follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on this project.
If you don’t own the building, why are you responsible for restoring it? Why isn’t this being taken care of by the municipality or the owner?
WACO was unsuccessful in buying the Wooler Schoolhouse in 2021 when it was sold by Scouts Canada. Since then, we have explored a variety of strategies to save and restore the building.
According to the municipality, responsibility for preserving buildings of heritage value rests with the owner of the building. Given the costs of restoring the Wooler Schoolhouse, a potential partnership between WACO and Moira Brothers Properties to save the building makes sense.
What is the historical significance of the Wooler Schoolhouse?
The Wooler School property has been in community hands since 1800 and hosted three schoolhouses as well as the Wooler Scout Hall until 2021. The current building, built in 1915 as the Wooler Public School, has significant heritage value as a rare example of the Prairie Style of architecture in Ontario.
Why is the Schoolhouse important to the Wooler and area community?
The Wooler Schoolhouse has served as a community resource for over a century, hosting generations of students, 60 years of youth programs, and countless community events. It is the last community space in Wooler capable of hosting recreational activities and family events since the Wooler Town Hall was torn down in 2012. It is part of Wooler’s history and its 6,000 square feet of space has great potential to provide community services well into the future.
Shouldn’t this building be torn down? Can it really be saved?
Inspections by structural engineers, contractors, and heritage experts indicate that while the building requires urgent care, it can be saved, restored, and returned to community service. This is a unique opportunity to save a historic building while providing local recreational programs and spaces for community and family hosted events.
What are the future plans for the Schoolhouse?
We are working with the owner of the Schoolhouse on longer term plans to restore the Schoolhouse and return it to community service. Our short term priority is to prevent further damage to the building by addressing a few weather-proofing and structural issues, as well as re-introducing climate controls to the building.
Can I share stories and/or photos about the Wooler school?
Yes! We are looking for stories and photos about the Wooler School or its use as the Wooler Scout Hall. You can share your stories and photos through the Contact Us page on our website.
Can I donate to support the project? How will my donation be used?
Yes, donations are being accepted through our GoFundMe campaign.
Funds will be used to save the Schoolhouse by sealing the building, reintroducing climate controls, and addressing structural issues. This will prevent further deterioration of his heritage building while planning, fundraising, and work take place to fully restore the building.
Are there other ways I can get involved in this project?
We are looking for support in any way you can offer! We appreciate any donation of money or time and are always searching for volunteers to help with site clean up, promote the project and network, participate in the project Board, or any other ways you may be able to offer your time and skills.
If you have questions that haven’t been answered here, contact us to find out more.