WESTFIELD – The Historical Commission this week discussed some of the logistics for its plan to move the Wyben Schoolhouse from its current location on Montgomery Road to a more accessible location for visitors.
The commission discussed which groups they could realistically get involved to move the building, including the Western Hampden Historical Society. Commissioner Debbie U. Opperman said that their mission is broad enough that they could stand in as a 501c3 non-profit for the Historical Commission.
Commission Chair Cindy Gaylord said that she has been thinking about putting the school house next to the Westfield Whip Manufacturing building. She said that having two historical destinations right next to each other could boost visits for both locations.
“Where the school is now, nobody really sees it,” said Gaylord, “There is a movement of people who want to bring back downtown Westfield and I think this would help.”
There was uncertainty among the board about whether the city would want to continue to own the building or not. If it did remain as city property, it would require certain maintenance plans to be drafted to protect the public money.
The Historical Commission has been in discussions about moving the schoolhouse since at least August of last year.
The Wyben Schoolhouse is the only remaining fully intact one-room schoolhouse left in Westfield. A historical architect once surveyed the structure and found that it would cost more money in the future to maintain it than previously thought. The committee agreed that physically moving the building to a new location would increase visibility, and therefore visits as well.
This would help bring in the extra funds needed to maintain the schoolhouse going forward.
Though many of the visitors are school children on field trips, the current location is also inaccessible by school bus.