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Old west Sutter County school may get new life
From elementary school to rat den, there is no doubt the 100-plus-year-old Slough School in west Sutter County has been neglected.
But the landmark one-room schoolhouse may see new life if it is partially restored as a result of a pending sale that initially called for demolition of the structure.
Unlike the nearby 1909 white West Butte School building at Pass and West Butte roads owned by the Middle Mountain Foundation, the Slough School has been mostly ignored.
Both schools — believed be to the only remaining of about 50 one-room schoolhouses that at one time dotted Sutter County — were attended by members of pioneer families.
Efforts by Middle Mountain to restore West Butte School have been well-documented, but Slough School on South Butte Road has been left to deteriorate.
But Yuba City resident Karl Thein has been working with Century 21 Real Estate and Wells Fargo Bank to complete a deal that would give him ownership of the historic school along with a house on the same property. The sale hasn't been finalized, but Thein said he already has plans for the school.
When Thein sought a loan for the 1.4-acre property, the bank gave him a choice: tear down the school or make the necessary repairs, according to Shirley Jimerson, the agent in charge of the listing.
"I'd like to renew it," he said. "I'd like to redo the floors and walls."
Thein has already repainted portions of the school that were deemed hazardous by bank appraisers.
Appraisers originally declared that the schoolhouse wasn't up to Federal Housing Administration standards. Lead-based paints and rat feces were found throughout the building, said Jimerson.
In the following weeks, Jimerson said, she argued with appraisers frequently to ensure them that repairs could be made.
"I didn't want to destroy it," she said. "I like historical things."
Slough School was opened in 1868 — three years after the end of the Civil War — and closed in 1962 after most students left to attend Meridian School, according to an article in the now-defunct Yuba City Independent-Herald. It started as Butte Slough School and rests on property that was donated by Levi Schultzenburger.
Graduating classes sometimes consisted of three or four students.
CONTACT Griffin Rogers at email@example.com or 749-4783. Find him on Facebook at /ADgriffinrogers or on Twitter at @ADgriffinrogers.