Residents hope to save former school

POWHATAN – The Powhatan Point Revitalization Association (PPRA) is working tirelessly to save the former Powhatan Elementary.

The former school, a three-floored building that sits in the heart of downtown Powhatan, was purchased by the PPRA. Since the purchase, the building has been renovated and given a new purpose as a craft mall.

“The school is worth saving because it’s more than just an old building. It’s where I grew up. It’s where I created the best memories, and even though there aren’t children roaming the halls, and bells aren’t ringing, it still smells the same. It’s still my school,” said Samantha Trifonoff, who currently has a shop called This and That. “Every time I walk into the building, I am hit with memories from a different year of my childhood and I am not ready to give that up. So we rented the room to not only sell our odds and ends, but to help keep the school open so others can walk through it freely and reminisce through their childhood as I do.”

Rooms have been rented out at a reasonable rate, that includes maintenance and utilities, and stores vary from candle shops to a consignment store. There are 11 crafters at the moment.

“It’s a great opportunity if you are trying to start a new business and it is a secure location,” said Randy Sisson, vice president of the Powhatan Point Revitalization Association. “It is a great business incubator.”

Along with painting, removing ceiling tile and adding new business, they are currently working on receiving a food vendors license.

Powhatan Elementary was accepted into the Ohio Historical Society and will be in the national registry.

They are currently seeking and asking for artifacts relating to Powhatan Point and Powhatan Elementary history. There will be several exhibits and rooms dedicated to the history, as well as the coal mines that once populated the town. They are also seeking information on the Indians that also populated Powhatan.

The PPRA are asking for residents to volunteer time to help with maintenance, painting and carpentry work.

“We are asking for people to volunteer their time for a weekend or two,” said Yolanda Hess, director of the Powhatan Historical Society. “We will provide lunch. Anyone interested can reach me at (740) 213- 8492.”

The PPRA is also working to make the association a non-profit, which will allow the PPRA to receive more grants.

There will be a fund-raiser spaghetti dinner and craft show on July 13 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.. This money will go to help saving the Old Powhatan School.

Van Dyne can be reached at kvandyne@timesleaderonline. com