Many of you are aware of the latest renovation of the old Clyde River School House, but the previous renovation was in 1986. The following is the story that was featured in The Guardian 31 years ago (news clipping from Hazel Beer’s scrapbooks):
W.I. Renovate Old School House Into Centre of Community Activity, by Kathy Jorgensen
In 1972 the Clyde River Women’s Institute purchased the 152-year-old school house in that community and began the long task of renovating it into a community centre.
The original school house had only one room, and in 1964 a second room was added. The goal of the W.I. members was to upgrade and maintain these two rooms and have the building serve the community in many capacities.
Jean MacLean and Neila MacKinnon, both W.I. members, were involved with the renovations over the years. They talked about the work and the many needs it has filled in the community.
The two women, obviously proud of the fresh, new look that the W.I. has given the building, noted they lowered the ceiling in the old section and took out a hatch that led to a clay basement.
“We then had a cement basement poured.” said Mrs. MacKinnon.
The cloak room for the girls was renovated into a small kitchen, and later a large addition to that kitchen was constructed. Recessed lighting, paper, paint, curtains and pieces of furniture were all part of the many additions that made Clyde River Community Centre the central gathering place for special events.
The old “Clyde River School” sign has been left on the building as a matter of heritage. There renovated building was aptly named Riverview Community Centre. Behind it flows the Clyde River and a picturesque view of the river can be seen from the grounds and most windows inside the building.
Mrs. MacLean explained that there had been a hall in the community, but noted it was too run-down to be bothered with. It had been torn down and moved piece by piece to another location and used for a barn. Furniture in the old hall, which had been purchased by the W.I. was moved to the new community centre.
Fixing the grounds was also part of the W.I. project and much landscaping and planting had to be done. Shrubs and flowers were planted, a flag raised and the centre was ready for operation. Now with the community using the facility for teas, anniversaries, picnics, Christmas parties, children’s functions, and community showers, the W.I. feels its work has been worthwhile.
They are still in the process of paying for the many renovations and will hold an auction sale on September 10th beginning at 6 p.m. Both women noted that donations are needed for the auction and they will take almost anything.
Future plans for the centre will mean finishing the basement so it can be used as gym area. The W.I. of Clyde River will be working on that over the next year or two and looking forward to seeing the completion of this project.