We are completing interior restoration of Central School in preparation for February Centennial Reenactment

09-07-16-drywall-up-in-central-schoolConstruction portion of the restoration effort is expected to be completed in October, reports Frank Corry, the Mount Prospect Historical Society’s Board president, leaving about three months to get the building tidied up and sufficiently furnished to host the Centennial Commission’s Feb. 3, 2017, Centennial re-enactment in the building where the original vote to incorporate took place precisely 100 years earlier.

“It’s exciting to realize that this important, long-running effort is now nearing completion,” says Corry.  “It’s a tribute to the community’s generosity and appreciation of its history that so many people and organizations over the years have supported the “Save Central School” campaign and worked so hard to make it happen.  It’s also a tribute to their patience, since we could move only as quickly as we had the funding to proceed.”

09-07-16-wilkin-insulation-co-cutting-insulationThe project has turned out to be a sizeable undertaking for the Society.  “We moved the building about a half mile—itself a big deal—set it on a new full-basement foundation, removed decades of mismatched and deteriorating “improvements,” repaired/replaced most of the back wall, re-roofed the building, added structural reinforcement to the floor, constructed an interior utility stairway, and installation new electrical, HVAC, security, fire alarm and sprinkler systems,” he continues.  “Construction Consulting and Disbursement Services (CCDS) of Niles is now completing the ‘interior finishes’ phase of the project, with Wilkin Insulation Company of Mount Prospect donating all of the insulation work for the project, both labor and materials.

“It’s probably good we didn’t completely understand at the start how involved and challenging this project this would become,” Corry laughs. “If we did, we might have convinced ourselves not to start it, and that would have been an irreversible mistake.”

Since the “Save Central School” campaign began in earnest in 2002, the community has donated nearly $415,000 for the restoration, all but $40,000 of which has been expended on the restoration work to date.

09-07-16-insulation-up-in-central-schoolCorry noted that additional outlays of about $100,000 are expected before the project wraps up in a few months.  “We’re still hoping for $60,000 more in donations before then,” Corry added, “but if there’s still a shortfall when those final payments are due, we’re hoping it will be modest enough that we can cover it temporarily with funds from our operating reserves until the donations catch up.  We’re not keen to do that, of course, but if that’s what it’ll take for the schoolhouse to be ready for the reenactment, we’ll do it and hope people understand why we’re still trying to raise funds after the construction has been completed.  But if we weren’t optimists, we wouldn’t even be doing this.”

It is expected that the schoolhouse will be open for school field trips and public gatherings beginning next spring, after its grand unveiling on Feb. 3 for the planned Centennial reenactment.

For more information about the Central School restoration and the ongoing effort to raise funds to reimburse the Society’s reserve fund, phone the Mount Prospect Historical Society at 847/392-9006.

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