On Saturday, June 9, the Auxiliary of Swinney Switch Inc. hosted its semiannual open house at the Jarrett School House, located off FM 534 at CR 343. The Jarrett School House has been a restoration project of the Auxiliary for the past several years. In that time, an amazing transformation has occurred.
Several visitors remarked on the extent of the restoration, and it was remarkably cool in the building during the heat of the afternoon. Tony Krauss commented that “they knew how to build for the environment back then.” The high ceilings and south facing windows made it a perfect building for the winter and summer.
The Auxiliary was pleasantly surprised by the delivery of a school desk to the building. According to Carleen Lockard, “there was a note on the desk, but it had faded, so we don’t know where it came from.” If anyone has information on the origins of the students’ desks, please let one of the members know.
When the Auxiliary began its work several years ago, one would not have known the schoolhouse existed due to the extensive brush coverage and general overgrowth and neglect. Inside the schoolhouse, there was significant damage from a leaking roof and broken windows. As far as the wildlife was concerned, the schoolhouse was a place for them to build their nests and take refuge from the cold. The Auxiliary changed that with its first round of work.
After clearing the brush and cleaning the building, a new metal roof was added. The next step was to add new doors and windows to completely secure the building from the elements. An owl had nested in the building during the changing out of the windows. The contractor had to leave one of the windows uninstalled until the baby owl finally flew the coop. Afterward, the Auxiliary made a thorough cleaning of the school a priority.
With the building secure, electricity was added. The next project is to drill a new well and then add handicapped accessible restroom facilities. The Auxiliary’s latest fundraiser brought that goal several thousand dollars closer to a reality. They then raffled off six items designed to appeal to men for their Father’s Day raffle. Samantha Lansford and Heaven Lee Ramirez were on hand to draw the lucky winners.
Carleen Lockard estimates that the building will require about $25,000 more to complete the planned restoration. Anyone interested in donating their time, treasure or talent to the project is encouraged to call Carleen at 547-3459.