Steamboat Springs Area schools will participate Friday morning in a tradition that dates back several centuries.
The Grand Lodge of Colorado will dedicate South Routt Elementary's new classroom wing and Soroco High School's new gym in two cornerstone ceremonies.
The ceremony for the elementary school begins at 10 a.m. in Yampa. The second ceremony follows in the old high school gym in Oak Creek at noon.
The tradition of laying cornerstones began in the 13th century in Scotland.
Important public buildings in the United States with cornerstones include the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., and Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
"It's a big deal," said David Moran, a member of the Masonic Lodge in Steamboat.
"It's not often that the Grand Lodge has time in their schedule to do this."
The Masonic Lodge in Yampa, Egeria Lodge #167, contacted the Grand Lodge of Colorado last fall to ask that it perform the cornerstone ceremony.
The Grand Lodge annually performs about 20 cornerstone ceremonies.
One of its cornerstone ceremonies occurred last year in Steamboat Springs when the building at the corner of Eighth Street and Lincoln Avenue was dedicated with a plaque.
"But the focus was more on the fact that it was being taken back to its historical accuracy, where this is a school," said Moran, an honorary member of the Egeria Lodge #167.
The elementary school in Yampa will not get a cornerstone because its location on the new wing would not be visible to the public.
Instead, a large boulder will be placed at the front of the school and a plaque will be placed atop the rock.
Under the plaque is a foot-long incision where a time capsule will be placed.
Principal Troy Zabel said the time capsule would contain the school's yearbook and a list of the school board members.
An actual cornerstone will be laid at the new high school gym.
Soroco High School Principal Richard Coleman asked the student council to decide which items would be placed in the school's time capsule.
The students agreed to a yearbook, a roster of students and faculty and a CD of current popular music.
The time capsules would not be removed until the buildings are demolished or fall down, said Bernard Knott, Master of Egeria Lodge #167.
Local service groups, such as the American Legion, Boy Scouts and VFW, will provide a Color Guard for the ceremony.
Knott said the cornerstone ceremony provided the Freemasons an opportunity to expose their organization to the public.
"It's a very nice thing to bestow on a community," Moran said.