Altbergthal School finally finds a home

The Red River Valley Echo, November 29, 2011

Everything is finally falling into place for the Altbergthal School.

After standing unused on its current location behind the MEC in Altona since 1982, the Altbergthal Historical Committee has made a deal with the Neubergthal Heritage Foundation to move the 108 year old building to the Eddie Schmidt site in Neubergthal.

Committee vice-chair Joe Braun said they received approval in October, after several meetings with the NHF.

Braun says a lot of work has already been done at the Neubergthal site, and to the school building in preparation of the move. 

"We've hired Wilf Hiebert because he's got a good feel for these heritage buildings," Braun says, adding that many of the exterior repairs, such as siding and roofing, will be done before the building is moved.

Altona town council has wanted the school building removed for several years. Because of the new agreement with the NHF, they've extended the deadline for removal to Sept. 2012. Braun says this should give them plenty of time. 

The hope, he says, is to use the building not just for its historical value, but also for educational purposes, possibly in the area of agriculture and alternative energy.

Braun says, thanks to support from the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society and through donations, they had $30,000 to start the project, $8,000 of which has already been spent.

The committee is in the process of applying for a Community Places grant, and also hopes to generate more support from the public. They would like to develop a group that would commit to annual pledges for this project.

"There's a lot of people in our area with a fondness for education who recognize the need to preserve this important piece of history."