Former high school now serves as home to businesses

Photos provided A VIEW of some of the many items for sale inside Sugar’s Attic, located inside the old Woodsfield High School.

WOODSFIELD — The former Woodsfield High School, 204 S. Paul St., is now home to a variety of businesses including Sugar’s Attic, operated by Monroe County native Larry Jeffers.

Jeffers’ shop, which he operates with friend Tim Dolan, is located in a classroom where he took French language classes as a high school student. The building is owned by Ronda Piatt, who also works as the county’s dog warden and humane officer.

Jeffers said his shop is named after his wife, who died a year ago this month. Before she passed away, the couple was planning to come back to Monroe County after living in Colorado for 35 years to open a shop.

In addition to the French classroom, Jeffers has expanded to another classroom across the hall. He sells a variety of collectibles in addition to southwestern-style jewelry.

In the bottom of school, Piatt runs her nonprofit Riverwoods Animal League, and there is also a shop called Carolyn’s Crafts. Another shop, AJ’s Antiques, takes up three classrooms in the building.

Starting Thursday, consignment auctions are expected to be held every other Thursday in the old school’s auditorium. Jeffers said in the future the building may also host country music concerts and possibly some “jam nights.”

Piatt said her animal league shop inside the building sells used items, and the proceeds help her run the organization. She said she also frequently collects and gives items, such as furniture, to people in need in the community.

Piatt said she graduated from Woodsfield High in 1981 and at one time worked there as a janitor’s helper. She said the building is serving as a business incubator of sorts because she charges low rent prices.

Piatt said her nonprofit already was in the 102-year-old building when it became available for sale. She decided to purchase the structure herself because she was concerned a new owner might want to “kick a nonprofit out.”

Piatt said the building’s heating system is in need of some work, but she has made progress in other areas. Much of the work she does herself via use of free or used items. For example, the kitchen was revamped using a free triple sink.

“I’m doing it the hard way. I don’t have money to do things things on a large scale,” she said.

Piatt said she completed a great deal of work to ensure the building complies with fire codes. She noted that Matt Brake, who serves as Monroe County 911 coordinator and also works for the Swiss Valley Associates engineering firm, has inspected the building.