What will become of Case Street schoolhouse?

MIDDLEBURY — Officials of the Case Street Community Club this weekend are beginning a serious discussion about the future of the historic one-room schoolhouse at the intersection of Route 116 and Quarry Road in Middlebury, and for the first time they are asking for help from members of the general public.
The club will host a panel discussion on Sunday, Oct. 19, beginning at 2 p.m., at which members of the club’s board and anyone else who cares about the iconic, white building surrounded by maples will try to figure out how to maintain it and put it to its best use.
The building began its life as the Quarry Hill School in 1880, and it served as a center of education and community activity until the school was closed in a wave of consolidation that swept Vermont after World War II. A group of around 17 families in the area bought the building in 1954 and started the Case Street Community Club. So far club membership has been limited to members of those families and their descendants.
But as the original club members have grown older or passed on and some of their families moved away, activity at the building has decreased. Carol Wood, whose family was among the founding members of the Community Club, said she, her two sisters and one other person have been doing most of the maintenance and they are simply not able to keep up with it.
“People are too busy, lifestyles have changed,” Wood said.
The Sodbusters Horseshoe Pitching Club used the property for several decades, but it relocated to Bristol two years ago. Since then, the club has been approached by someone who discussed the idea of siting a restaurant in the building, and by a theater company, but neither of those ideas panned out, Wood said.
“There’s no septic and the only heat is an old stove,” she explained.
And so, with the club and the clubhouse at a crossroads, members are looking for outside help. People with specialized knowledge or skills are encouraged to come to Sunday’s meeting.
“We’re looking for people who have vision,” Wood said. “It would be a lot of grant writing, it would take a lot of energy.”
She said bringing in outside people will change the dynamics of the Case Street Community Club, but it has to change at this point.
“We really need to do something,” Wood said. “We’d love to keep it going.” 

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