Refurbished Mesa Schoolhouse is dedicated today

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— The 83-year-old red schoolhouse at the base of Rabbit Ears Pass holds memories of hundreds of shoes walking over its one-room floor. Today, that scuffed wood floor has been buffed, its wainscoting refinished and its plaster repaired as the group Historic Routt County gets ready to dedicate the Mesa Schoolhouse to the city of Steamboat Springs.

The dedication of the little red schoolhouse is occurring in conjunction with Steamboat's centennial celebration of its incorporation as a city. Jayne Hill, the chairwoman of Historic Routt County, said the five-member Mesa Schoolhouse committee worked on the project for more than a year. Joining Hill on the committee were Arianthtettner, Jane Grogan, Jan Kaminski and Winnie DelliQuadri.

"I figure the committee has easily put in 1,500 hours, with fund-raising, permits, working on the building, planning and coordinating," Hill said.

Community volunteers also contributed. Hill said the schoolhouse's neighbors, Wildflower Meadows and Catamount Ranch, donated to the restoration effort, Native Excavating paved the parking lot and True Value sponsored a $2,500 account for the group to get supplies.

"I can't even put a cost on what this community put in as far as in-kind services and help," Hill said.

The Mesa Schoolhouse, like all the other 96 country schools in Routt County, was originally painted white with green trim, but it was treated this year to a fresh coat of red paint, its landmark color since the early 1970s.

In 1916, Ida Dupiere, longtime resident Don Lufkin's grandmother, gave the land to the school district and the Mesa School was used there until 1959, when Routt County consolidated its school districts.

Of the 96 schools built in the county, only a few, such as the Moonhill Schoolhouse in north Routt County, still stand in their original locations.

"Of all of the schoolhouses in the county, this might be the most visible and the most known because it's right in the gateway to Steamboat," Hill said of the Mesa Schoolhouse's location at the base of Rabbit Ears Pass. "We felt strongly about preserving a piece of rural history in the midst of current development."

The building has one main room which will be used for public meetings of up to 49 people. It also has a kitchen, a cloakroom and two bathrooms.

Historic Routt County raised $200,000 in private funds to pay for the schoolhouse, but the city holds the deed to the building. The historic preservation group will turn over the keys at the dedication today.

Historic Routt County invites everyone to come to the Mesa Schoolhouse today from 5 to 8 p.m. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Parking on site is limited. Please take the free shuttle that will run continuously from the Meadows parking lot on Mt. Werner Circle.

- To reach Michelle Bales call 871-4208 or e-mail mbales@amigo.net

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