By Benjamin Ostrander
Insulation, two-by-fours, windows, and all sorts of power tools are scattered within the shell of the schoolhouse. This time it is not arithmetic, reading or writing that is being taught. This time around it is information about construction and use of power tools that the students are learning.
The Neff Schoolhouse project began earlier this spring with a few students in Mr. John Royer’s drafting three class, which involves task of renovating the Neff one room schoolhouse. From tearing out walls to putting in new windows, the students are doing it all.
“It was a lot of work in not a lot of time, but we got a lot done...We tore the right half of the front wall down, put it back up and put in all the windows,” said senior Brandon Kinard. “It’s a lot of fun to learn and a lot of fun to help.”
Several of Mr. Royer’s students approached him about the project after completing the Habitat for Humanity Project in Windsor during the 2014-15 school year. “If all of these people are getting into it and they think this would be worthwhile and with how old it is, why not keep it around, ” Royer said.
Through many day-long field trips, the entire front porch has been redone along with repainted, and almost half of the siding has been ripped down and replaced.
“The progress is great. There are a lot of things to be done but for the most part it is well organized,” said project supervisor John Royer. “We’re on track for completion based on this spring (2016)...but if not, a little will be touched up next fall.”
The school was built in the 1860s and moved to its current location in the mid-to-late 1970s. The move, which occurred almost 110 years after the schoolhouse was initially built happened because the owners of the house and the land only donated the land. When the borough of Red Lion acquired the house it was on the corner of Country Club Road and Dairyland Drive, which is private property. This move was not major, being only about a half of a mile down Country Club Road. The schoolhouse now resides in the front lawn of the Edgar C. Moore elementary school which is now River Rock Academy. This schoolhouse is one of the few that has not been turned into a business or a residence.