Open Barton School House!
The Grove School might be the most misunderstood school in Redlands. For starters, it is not a private school. The Grove is a Montessori-based, free, charter school serving children grades 7-12. It’s middle school classes are taught on a humble working farm. But the exceptional classes taught within earned it the California Distinguished School award in 2013. The Grove is also the owner and steward of the oldest remaining school in Redlands, the Barton Schoolhouse.
But how did it come to be a part of the school anyway?
The Grove is situated on city-owned land next to Heritage Park. The land was granted to the city by the Van Grouw family with the caveat that it be preserved as a reminder of Redlands’ agricultural past. The farm run by The Grove students is a part of that living history. And so, the city generously rents the land to the school for $1 a year. It’s a wonderful arrangement and the development of the Heritage Park has added another gem to the Redlands’ green belt.
But what is less wonderful was the condition of The Barton Schoolhouse when it was moved. In 2009, a developer wanted to purchase the original land occupied by the Barton Schoolhouse. The city wanted to sell it, but the Redlands Conservancy wanted the building preserved. An agreement was reached to move Barton Schoolhouse to The Grove campus. It sounded like a good idea, until the building was little more than dumped onto the property.
Structurally unsound, The Grove community embarked on shoring it up at great expense. The Grove School’s charter is authorized by Redlands Unified School District, but Grove does not receive any money from RUSD, the city or the state for capital expenses. This means the money for improvements has come from operating expenses of the school and donations. Since 2009, the “gift” of the Barton Schoolhouse has actually cost the school nearly $200,000.
The Grove looked outside for help. Last year, The Grove secured grants and donations for more that $600K to complete renovations on the Barton Schoolhouse: San Manuel Band of Mission Indians donated $250,000; the City of Redlands donated $250,000, and the Redlands Conservancy donated $100,000.
These gifts have put us within striking distance of completing the schoolhouse. However, we still need another $200,000. When finished the school will contain four new classrooms with movable walls. This will give the school a place to celebrate as a community whether that’s for dances, plays or award ceremonies. The Schoolhouse will also be available in the future for people and organizations from Redlands to rent out for events. Further, the building itself is beautiful! Its renovation and preservation will be a source of pride to students, teachers and the entire community.
When you ask yourself how much to give consider that if every family in the school pledged $40 month, the goal would be reached. Donations can be made online at PayPal. Donations can be made as one lump sum or set up as a monthly payment. Or you can download and mail in the donation card to The Grove School, 200 Nevada St, Redlands, CA 92373.