Hillsboro to Spend $100,000 to Replace Old Stone School Roof

After decades of frigid winters, blistering summers and overall wear and tear, the Town of Hillsboro’s Old Stone School is set to get a new roof.

As of the end of September, the town finally has the $100,000 it needs to hire a roofing company to replace the 8,000-square-foot building’s standing seam metal roof, something that hasn’t been done in about a half century. While Mayor Roger Vance said that the new roof should be on before winter, fundraising for the project has taken months to achieve.

Throughout the summer, the town worked to raise money for the project with its “Up on the Roof” campaign, which Vice Mayor Amy Marasco said provided the town with about 30 percent of the needed money through private donations and proceeds from town events.

Aside from revenue generated by events like the inaugural Gardens in the Gap and the Summer Concert Series, the town also received individual donations ranging anywhere from $250 to $400 at each event. The Old Stone School Preservation Trust helped to solicit donations, since the town government is restricted from doing so itself.

The other 70 percent of the project’s funding came from the Loudoun County government. “The Board of Supervisors has been very generous and kind,” Marasco said.

In addition to replacing the roof, repair work will include the installation of a new gutter system and possibly the addition of a weathervane that will be in the shape of the town’s unofficial mascot—a horse named “Radish.”

The town plans this week to select one of four local roofing companies to move forward with. Once the selection is made, the roof replacement should take a few weeks to complete.

“I think it’s going to be pretty straightforward,” Vance said. “We just really needed to get that roof secured.”

The Old Stone School was built in 1874 as a home for the Locust Grove Academy, which operated in the building for 92 years, until 1966. A decade later, when the building was slated to be razed, resident outcry prompted the county to take on maintenance of the school’s structural repairs, while the Hillsboro Community Association agreed to maintain the interior and manage the community center.

Those agreements lasted until 2006, when the county transferred ownership of the building to the town. At that point, a study indicated that the building needed $500,000 of work, including the roof replacement. “We’ve been chipping away at that over time,” Vance said.

Marasco said that since 2006, the town has spent close to $300,000 on repairs and maintenance to the school. That work has included an upgrade to the entire HVAC and electrical systems, the installation of new curtains in the auditorium to help with heating, cooling and acoustics and the completion of a few landscaping jobs.

Looking past the roof replacement, she said the building still needs about $700,000 worth of work, which she expects will take 3-5 years to complete.

All the repairs, in addition to the installation of WiFi by the Waterford Telephone Co. last December, have made the building a more appealing rental venue for individuals and companies. Marasco said that has allowed the town to double its revenue in rent payments in the last two years. “Our rent has really increased,” she said.

The town is now preparing to request another $200,000 from the county to help fund additional work to the school. If approved, those funds will be used to renovate the restrooms, install a commercial kitchen and repoint the building’s stone foundation. “That’s going to be a big project,” Vance said.

pszabo@loudounnow.com

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