Open house at renovated Rideout Elementary school
WILTON – Two years ago, Wilton and Lyndeborough residents voted to combine their elementary schools and become a cooperative school district.
The district began with the junior-senior high school, which was approved in 1968, continued with the building of a middle school and two years ago, agreeing to send all of the sixth-graders there.
On Wednesday, Oct. 7, the new Florence Rideout Elementary School hosted an open house at which those who made it possible were recognized. Refreshments were served in the refurbished gym, its old Palladian windows on the western side restored. Students escorted groups of residents through the maze of stairs and hallways that connect two old buildings.
School Board Vice Chairman Harry Dailey, chairman of the Building Committee that worked with the architect, the clerk of the works and Hutter Construction Co. throughout the 18 months of building, introduced the major players in the project.
"We began with six months of educating people prior to school district vote," he said; the vote passed with 67 percent approval. "We finished on time and on budget," Dailey said to applause.
David Ross, of Hutter Construction, called it a "very challenging project." The original 1895 building – the former Wilton High School, which once housed all 12 grades – and the 1930s gym are on different levels. The old building was renovated and the gym refurbished. The space between them was filled in with three levels of classrooms, a library, music room and cafeteria. An elevator serves all levels.
A row of classrooms built in the 1950s across the front of the gym was removed and replaced with a new entrance and administrative offices. Since the gym is used for town meetings, that is easily accessible and has new restrooms.