McDonald County residents breathe life into historic school building

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MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. — Folks are going back in time in McDonald county – and it’s all thanks to some tireless work.

You could say old things are new again at the old – New Bethel School in Anderson.

Karen Almeter and her husband decided to purchase the vacant building and transform it into a 1915 Pioneer School.

Karen Almeter Director of the New Bethel School Preservation Association, said, “Personally I just– I’m really interested in history, U.S. History and local history and we’ve lived near the school for many, many, years and I was always found of the school and I didn’t want to see it torn down and subdivided into apartments.”

Almeter was able to purchase the building for $11,000.

“Our mission was first to preserve–restore and preserve the school and then but also preserve history-local history. The history of rural education and the skills and the way of living people from the past particularly the early 20th century when the school was open.”

New Bethel is a bit different than a public or private school.

“We are doing different types of classes, we had a sewing class here for moms and children, we have, we had canning, I taught a canning class but for the hot water bath method and then the pressure canning.”

And the building needed a whole lot of work.

“Gosh we started with the windows, we had to replace half of the windows and there 14 double windows here we had the ceiling was literally falling, the ceiling was literally falling off. So we had to scrape all of that off and and then have a new ceiling put in. Just a tremendous amount of work.”

The school as caught the attention of the public.

Stacy White New Bethel School Member, said, “It’s wonderful for our family and the children, I’ve got involved first before the kids one of the first things we did was a old fashioned game day like the kids would play during a school day back in you know the 20’s,30’s, and 40’s.”

Stacy takes her kids to have fun, but to also learn how it was back in the day.

“Cause kids now a days I feel like-like my kids are taking things for granted they’re getting screen time the computers seems to be in front of their face often. They can grab a water bottle and it just be right there. They have to think and be more creative in foods we eat you know how you water the games that they play.”

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