Jack Harrison, Scott Hasso, Joe Vigna, Eli Schwartzberg, Gregory Vigna, and Leah Harner of Stonebrook Properties display the banner before it’s put up the former Willsboro Central School building.
In case the sign in the sky has gone unnoticed, contractors for the Champlain Valley Senior Community assisted living facility have begun construction and plan to be opening doors by March 2013.
“We want people in the community to know this is new news,” Eli Schwartzberg, developer of Stonebrooks Properties said. “People ask all the time whats going on here and we’re now finally into the construction phase of the project.”
Stonebrooks Properties was able to raise the final amount of money for the project through private investors and local supporters. The company broke ground on the transformation of the former school into an assisted living facility project two months ago.
“The most important thing is we want the community to know this project is going to happen and it’s going to open soon,” Schwartzberg said.
The construction began with asbestos abatement in the original building and the building’s 1957 addition. Since, the construction crew of about 40 have been stripping the layers of flooring, removing old ceiling materials, doors and windows while replacing with newer and more energy efficient ones.
Restoring an icon
The former Willsboro Central School was built in 1929 and operated as the town’s central school for 72 years before closing in 2001.
Although the construction crews have begun the building’s transformation from a school to an assisted living facility, Schwartzberg said he wants the building’s past and future to be evident upon the project’s completion.
“The school is a monument in the town and now the old building will be here and in use for hopefully another 100 years,” Schwartzberg said.
The construction crews have preserved murals in the hallways and the scoreboard in the former gymnasium will remain in the dining hall. Old school desks will be used in the reception area and chalkboards with messages of the last day of school will be left intact.
The construction plans also call for keeping the existing wood door frames, allowing for wide hallways to be set up with bookshelves and computer kiosks for residents to use.
The home will feature 64 bedrooms with a maximum residency of 75. Resident’s bedrooms will be in place of former classrooms and will all have a river view, Schwartzberg said.
The facility will also have a doctor’s office,beauty parlor, ice cream shop and coffee shop with an outdoor seating area to be constructed in the former faculty parking lot off the south side of the building.
Schwartzberg said the idea will be to have residents living in the center of town to keep their independence attainable and serve to bring members of the community into the home.
“Modern assisted living facilities have a sterile and hospital feel and usually build out of town where residents are disconnected from the core of the community,” Schwartzberg said. “Here, residents will be close to everything and within walking distance.”
When the home is completed, it will serve as a means to keep residents in the Adirondacks after they are no longer able to stay in their homes, Schwartzberg said.
For more information about the construction project or to learn about potential residency at the Champlain Valley Senior Community call 888-963-1110.