Watson School was in danger of collapsing due to major foundation failure and pest control problems. The building also had seismic safety issues that needed to be resolved prior to reopening the facility for public use. The original building is relatively unaltered, other than some early changes that can be considered part of the historic fabric. The general restoration components for each historic period have been identified in this summary.
The project as outlined in this proposal is to be completed in several phases, depending upon fundraising success, grants and other sources of available funding. Regional Parks committed $19,700 in major maintenance funding and $20,000 in park mitigation fees to stabilize the building, perform pest work and hire design consultants to prepare the preliminary restoration plans.
Phase 1 - This phase is complete and included the temporary stabilization of the building to keep it from collapsing, and initial pest control work. It also included the preparation of a topographic survey of the site and preliminary drafting of building elevations and floor plan. A brochure with historical information on Watson School from the interpretive panel was also developed that identified the proposed restoration project for public outreach and as a fundraising tool. Phase 1 was completed in October 2006.
Phase 2 - This phase was the development of the Core Historic Structures Report(PDF: 2.82 MB) and program for the restoration of the school. This document will be used to submit the project to the State Office of Historic Preservation for grants when funding is available. Phase 2 was completed in December 2008.
Phase 3 - This phase included the replacement of the existing foundation, seismic upgrades to make the structure safe for public use, new exterior siding, trim, fascia, painting, and disabled access improvements. This work was funded by a generous donation by the Furlong family, in memory of Dan Furlong. Phase 3 improvements still to be complete include replacement of windows and restoration of the roof and bell tower.
Phase 4 - The restoration of the interior of the building, including the walls, floor, podium area, wood burning stove, electrical system and interior paint.
Phase 5 - Restoration or replacement of the interior amenities, such as desks, bookshelves, tables, etc.
The Regional Parks Department and Regional Parks Foundation plan to continue community outreach efforts over the coming years through the local historical societies using the project brochures to provide historical information on Watson School and alert the community to the need for funding to restore the facility.