Fellsmere City Council to update Master Site Plan for Old School

By Lisa ZahnerFELLSMERE — On the City Council agenda Thursday is the discussion of setting a date to update the master site plans for the Old Fellsmere School.Designed by Frederick Trimble and completed in 1916 at a cost of $40,000, the school has undergone major renovations using public, private and grant funds to get the building ready to house City Hall and facilities for the Boys and Girls Clubs and recreation programs. Many local residents and the Indian River County Historical Society have worked more than a decade to restore the Prairie-style building to its glory days when it educated the children of Fellsmere, who were, at that time, in the jurisdiction of the St. Lucie County School District. The Old School served as a hub for social and civic activity.Vero Beach Architect John Dean, who worked on the renovations, has written about the Old School that, “today, this building is an important visual link between Fellsmere’s past and Fellsmere’s future.”The effort has been a successful City-County-State-Federal partnership to create this valuable resource for the community. In addition to classroom and office space, the school building will offer an auditorium for cultural events and performances. Some of the grant funds used to bring the building up to code and to purchase hurricane protection for the building were received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency so the building could potentially be used as a disaster shelter. Former County Commissioner and County Historian Ruth Stanbridge worked to push proposals through at many levels and the Schumann Foundation also made a substantial donation to the restoration effort. The Old School project has also been a crusade of the Fellsmere Beautification Committee.The school is located on County Road 512, just west of the intersection of Broadway, adjacent to the ballfields and the grounds which are used for the Fellsmere Frogleg Festival.The City Council meets at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

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