Fourth Ward School to open Monday

VIRGINIA CITY - The scaffolding will still be up, but the Fourth Ward School will be open for business starting Monday.

The historic school is under extensive restoration as one of 64 projects in 24 states designated by the White House Millennium Council as an American treasure.

Scaffolding still surrounds the building, the front porch is being rebuilt to the original specifications, and more than a dozen craftsmen and women are busy putting the finishing touches on the building for the 14th season which begins May 1.

"We are very excited about the work that has been completed for our opening on Monday," said Darlene Cobbey, chairwoman of the Fourth Ward School Board of Trustees. "We now have a new roof and the original windows are in working order for the first time since the building closed in 1936. The original hardware, where missing, has been replicated and the exterior of the building is back to its original color scheme."

Work will continue on the building following Monday's opening. The front porch was taken off two weeks ago and is currently being rebuilt according to historic photos of the building taken during the early 1800s. The North Tower Elevator project, a reconstruction of the original tower which held 16 Philadelphia spring toilets, will serve as the main entrance until the reconstructed porch is completed.

"Though the building continues to undergo restoration, we encourage the public to come and see this work in progress," said Mark Preiss, executive director, Fourth Ward School.

"Reyman Bros. Construction and the other craftsmen and women have done a tremendous job in maintaining the integrity of this building and their dedication will be evident to everyone who visits this summer."

A spokesman for the school said they hope to be done by May 19 in time for the 14th annual Comstock Historic Preservation Weekend.

Work completed for the season includes:

-Different tones and colors of the building, a return to the original color schemes dating from 1876.

-Two new exhibitions opening on May 19 as part of preservation weekend.

-Eighty-eight windows have been restored to working order and have been painstakingly hand painted (wood grained or fauxed) to match their original finish.

-A newly expanded gift shop featuring unique Fourth Ward School and Victorian merchandise and Fourth Ward School replication hardware.


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