Owner of schoolhouse ponders future

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BEACON FALLS — One of the oldest buildings in town has a new owner, and town officials say he may want to donate or sell it to the town.

Nadeem and Naila Khalid are the new owners of 0.1 acre, on which stands the historic one-room Rimmon Schoolhouse. The schoolhouse, at 101 Pinesbridge Road, had been owned for slightly more than 24 years by Raymond Lafferty, who sold the property to the Khalids for $4,000 in June, according to town records.

First Selectman Susan Ann Cable said Nadeem Khalid has spoken with town officials since he was preparing to close on the property.

He has met a few times with her about his plans, and the town’s interest in the schoolhouse, she said.

He told her he would check with the town before he does anything with the structure, Cable said.

She said the town now is looking to see if there is any money available, and has talked with a local contractor about moving and rebuilding the schoolhouse.

“I would like to take it and relocate it — or at least some of it — at Matthies Park,” Cable said.

The property is currently zoned industrial. According to town records, Khalid also bought 1.2 acres on Rimmon Hill Road, which surrounds the small parcel where the schoolhouse sits.

Cable would not say what Khalid’s plans may be, only that he is looking at this options. She said it remains to be seen whether he will donate or sell the schoolhouse to the town.

Khalid couldn’t be reached for comment.

Selectman Michael A. Krenesky, who serves as town historian, said he is interested in the town retaining the structure, which is in its original state. The question now is where the town would move it to, and how it would go about it, he said.

There are people who have suggested they could do the move, Krenesky said. But there is a concern over moving it, as it’s not in the best condition, he said.

He said possible sites to relocate it to are Matthies Park, across the street into the Pinesbridge Commerce Park or across town to Wolfe Avenue, where the town is considering the use of the old Tracy Lewis house.

“This is one of the oldest structures in Beacon Falls,” Krenesky said. “It’s worthy of being saved and restored.”

In 2007, the schoolhouse made the State Register of Historic Places.

Lafferty put up a sign on the building that reads it dates to 1787. But Krenesky believes it was built around 1830s.

The schoolhouse was built as a district school in Oxford, Town Historian Dorothy A. DeBisschop said. At that time, Pinesbridge was part of Oxford. Children attended grades 1-8 there.

It would have had no electricity, and students walked to school. They normally would have walked home for lunch, but during winter, they would carry their lunch to school and have it heated on a stove, she said.

DeBisschop, who oversaw the relocation of a large historic building in Oxford, said the schoolhouse is small enough that a flatbed truck might move it. That way no electrical wires would have to be moved, she said.

“I’m confident they would be able to move that,” DeBisschop said. “It’s a nice, small, compact size. Many of these schoolhouses have been moved.”