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.