By Jamie Rieger
After several years of planning and renovating, the Glen Echo School restoration project has been completed and those who worked on the project, along with former students and friends of the school gathered for a celebration on Saturday.
Harvey Schnee, who was instrumental in seeing the project from start to finish, made sure not a nail was left unhammered or a piece of the school’s history omitted. Schnee said that it was a number of years ago and several discussions with family members that the project went from being just an idea to a major work project.
“Then, we just buckled down and got to work on this thing. When you are hoeing a row, you don’t look down the row to see how much you have left; you just get to work on it,” said Schnee.
First on the agenda was to get the school moved back to its original site and it was on July 11, 2013.
“The Kerners did a fantastic job of moving it out here,” said Schnee.
The renovation project was then well on its way and Schnee was not going to let anything get in the way of seeing it finished.
“The dust that blew through here in the 30s was all upstairs in the attic. It looked like a bomb had gone off,” he said.
New shingles were added to the roof, the outside patched and stuccoed, and original-style 1920’s window made and by Joe Reinhart of Akzent Cabinetry in Medicine Hat.
A sub-floor was added, as was a wheelchair ramp on the exterior, and the walls refurbished.
Henry Kerner donated several desks, and there were also donations of a teacher’s desk, school maps, blackboard, and books, among other items. When visitors to the Glen Echo School celebration toured the one-room school house, they were taken back in time with all the vintage school material; back to a time where rural values first took root.
MLA Drew Barnes attended the ceremony.
“What a tremendous job you have done here. This will allow for many, many people to come out and see what your history is all about,” said Barnes. “And, it’s all about our rural values. My goodness, the values I see here today are the values that built Alberta.”
Greg Larson, whose mother Alice could not attend the celebration, also said a few words.
“As the next generation has never really had to go through the hardships of the one before us, I understand how much this means to these people. It is important we never forget our heritage,” said Larson. “Be proud of who you are, be proud of where you came from, and be proud of your heritage.”