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New life planned for old school in Rolfe

Roosevelt No. 7 will be upgraded

August 23, 2012
By BILL SHEA, , Messenger News

ROLFE - Decades after the last students left, rows of old wooden desks still fill the dark interior of the Roosevelt No. 7 School.

Chalkboards upon which young scholars once scratched out mathematics problems cover the walls, and an upright piano sits near the front of the lone classroom.

The schoolhouse in Rolfe's Streit Park is a monument to an old method of education in rural Pocahontas County, but community leaders want to get the building cleaned up so that it can be a site for special events. Next year's 150th anniversary of the city's founding is providing increased incentive to complete the job.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Glenn Markley, of Rolfe, locks up the old Roosevelt No. 7 School. He’s one of the people involved in the effort to restore the building.

"Our objective is to get it restored and have it open for visitors," said Glenn Markley, a Rolfe resident involved in the effort.

That initiative got a boost recently when the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs awarded Rolfe Enrichment a $4,000 grant. That money will help pay for some windows designed to look like the ones that were in place when the school was in use.

Markley said some needed roof repairs will be done within the next two to three weeks.

The school, built in the early 1920s, was originally southwest of Rolfe in rural Roosevelt Township. Children in first through eighth grades attended class there.

After its days as a school ended, the part of the building that once held coal or corn cobs to fuel the stove was used as a grain bin.

The school was donated to the Rolfe Park Commission in 1979 by the Frances Sefcik family, which owned the property the building was on. The plan at that time was to have the Rolfe Lions Club restore it. However, the restoration did not happen as planned.

"It was brought in with the best of intentions," Markley said. ''Hopefully, we can get reinvigorated and make it a usable facility in our town."

Once it's completed, the building may be used for history presentations and civic club meetings.



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