Work In Progress

Remember Arnie Cunningham in Stephen King’s Christine who installs fresh wipers on a broken windshield?  Or how about Joe on the classic sit-com Wings who Armor-All’s the plane’s landing gear because “someone will appreciate it”?  As with so many best intentions, practicality always reigns.  Similarly, restoring and preserving a seasoned piece of architecture like Alango School is an exercise in balancing visible progress and hidden priorities.

At Alango School, it was easy (well, not easy – less painful) to provide curb appeal.  God bless Vern Nelson, who in his retirement years enjoyed the outdoors and his John Deere so much that sculpting the lawn became his pleasure.  (Vern passed away in the first year of progress at Alango School, and now a small conifer in the front lawn is our memoriam to a great guy.)

The painful decisions come when deciding what to tackle next.  The window panes in Room 3 are missing, but the well also needs a new pump.  And the wooden floors are rough, but there wouldn’t be floors without a decent roof.

Site conditions are negatively affecting the structure.  The landscaping has eroded to a degree where it is causing storm water run-off issues in and around the foundation.  Other issues include deteriorating roofing materials and inadequate heat.

With a project as large as the restoration and preservation of Alango School, it is useful to look at other sources of assistance when compiling the needs and wants, and to name a "Project Manager."  Alango School has the benefit of the services of Facility Engineering, Inc., who references Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record, or HABS/HAER, to compile required and desired work.  There are many resources available to preservationists (see Field Trips), including the Northwest Architectural Archives in Minneapolis, to whom the collection of original construction documents for Alango School - most preserved since the late 1920's - will be donated.

The professional expertise and assistance provided by Facility Engineering, Inc. and its business partners (see Honor Roll) is invaluable to the preservation of Alango School.  There is also the passionate help of family and friends who work side by side with these professionals.  Most drive many, many miles for an opportunity to be part of something this important and rewarding – whether it's tending a garden, re-shelving library books, repairing a roof, or moving out trash.  In the end, it's all needed and appreciated.

Improvements Chronology

Principal's Residence: preservation and restoration 2003-2013
Alango School:
Entrance restoration: 1927 construction 2007, 2009
Door restoration 2009
Teacherage restoration—various décor improvements 2007 - 2009, 2011, 2012
Furnace addition 2007
Plumbing repair 2007, 2008
Wood flooring restoration 2009, 2011
Wood window restoration 2012
Steep roofing replacement 2007
Low-slope flat seam copper roofing replacement: 1927 construction 2007
Electrical improvements—various locations 2007 - present
Roofing flashing replacement - partial 2008
Classroom 1 repair and restoration 2009
Drainage swale improvements: north portion property 2009
Flagpole restoration 2009
Garage erection 2009
Entrance stoop replacement (partial): 1937 construction 2009
Masonry chimney repair and restoration: 1937 construction 2009
Storm window repair and restoration 2009 - present
Attic insulation replacement: 1927 construction (partial) 2011
Furnace demolition: 1927 construction 2011
Crawlspace insulation addition: 1927 construction (partial) 2012
Gutter and downspout replacement: 1927 construction (partial) 2012
Septic line repair 2012
Entrance hand rails: 1927 and 1937 construction 2015

So, on to the pictorial presentation.  We know how much you enjoy before-and-after photos.

"We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us."

–Winston Churchill

The Classrooms

The Teacherage

The Roof

The Bathrooms

The Library

The Landscape