Bergthal School Finished With Structural Renovations

The Bergthal School, located in Neubergthal, is finished with major renovation projects for now.

Joe Braun has been involved with the Bergthal school project for 8 years. He said a recent $3,500 dollar donation from Altona Community Foundation covered costs of the new floor, installation of storm windows, and ductwork.

A recent donation covered the costs of the new floor, windows, and ducts

The school is also being developed as an interpretive museum, showing the West Reserve's history. Future plans involve displaying historic artifacts in one of the rooms.

Braun gave a brief overview of the school's history.

"It was built before 1880," said Braun, which was gauged by the "stacked wall" construction of the building.

It started out in Altbergthal, was moved to New Hope district until 1982, and then was moved beside Altona's Millennium Exhibition Centre. In 2012 it was moved to Neubergthal.

Right now the school is used for meetings, yoga classes, and other activities. Braun said the use of the building will be determined by future generations.

"I've done my job, now it's up to the rest," said Braun. "Our committee helped save the building from being demolished."

Braun said physical artifacts help reconstruct history 

In 1997 Parks Canada designated Neubergthal as a national heritage site, which is part of the reason the school ended up in the village.

"It has been, and it will be, part of tours that are coming through the village, where they go to the Friesen Housebarn for example," said Braun.

The total project cost for the school was a little over $105,000 dollars, and the committee helped raise $98,000 through fundraising efforts. The final expenses were taken over by Neubergthal Heritage Foundation.

Braun said preserving the area's history in a visual way is important.

"We need physical artifacts and buildings to be able to tell our history... print on paper is not nearly as validating as if you can have actual buildings that you can see. That helps a lot to be able to reconstruct your history."

Currently, the Klippenstein Housebarn, sitting north of the school, is undergoing major renovations thanks to a grant from Parks Canada.