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Community rallied for a community treasure

June 25, 2014
Fossil school gym completed.

Fossil school gym completed.

A project to restore the exterior of the historic Fossil Grade School Gym, has been completed, with funding from the Oregon Community Foundation, the Kinsman Foundation, the Bank of Eastern Oregon, the National Park Service through the State Historic Preservation Office, and numerous private donations.  The gym was built as a WPA project in 1936, and is an outstanding example of architecture from that period.


Exposed historic siding following the removal of the asbestos.

Exposed historic siding following the removal of the asbestos.

The preservation effort was motivated in part by the need to deal with old asbestos siding and lead-based paint.  The gym is still in use daily, by grade school kids, and it was important to handle these issues.  Once an abatement firm dealt with these, much of the remaining work in painting and restoring the trim, was done by local volunteers.


by Bob Cramer

Fossil School District Education Foundation


Editor’s Note:

This project was completed last year. It is an excellent example of the community coming together for a shared community asset. Being right on the main street and part of the school, it is a significant building both historically and today. The project also included listing the school and gym on the National Register of Historic Places. Initially, the renovation plan included replacing the historic siding, but upon removal of the asbestos, they found it fairly intact. Thanks to the people of Fossil for their great work for Oregon’s history.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Cara Kaser permalink
    June 25, 2014 9:17 am

    What an amazing project and model for other communities in Oregon and the country! Kudos to the Fossil community and school district for pulling together to preserve and revitalize such an important and unique local gathering place. Keep up the great work!

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