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Controversy erupts over use of old Adirondack schoolhouse

Al and Jess LaFountain review artwork created by students in their Adirondack Arts & Science Day Camp, which has been hailed by area parents. The educational summer school is held in the old Adirondack hamlet schoolhouse. Volunteers who rehabilitated the sturcture for a community center recently aired their complaints to the town board — which rents out the building — that the day camp's use of the building during the summer is hampering its use by civic groups. Students pictured are: Avril LaFountain, Karli Wood, Teddy Fleming, Owen Fleming,Devin Clench-Matteo, Izzy LaFountain and Gracie Staunches.

Al and Jess LaFountain review artwork created by students in their Adirondack Arts & Science Day Camp, which has been hailed by area parents. The educational summer school is held in the old Adirondack hamlet schoolhouse. Volunteers who rehabilitated the sturcture for a community center recently aired their complaints to the town board — which rents out the building — that the day camp's use of the building during the summer is hampering its use by civic groups. Students pictured are: Avril LaFountain, Karli Wood, Teddy Fleming, Owen Fleming,Devin Clench-Matteo, Izzy LaFountain and Gracie Staunches.

— The proprietors of a children’s summer day camp situated in a former local schoolhouse they are renting from the Horicon town government found themselves at odds recently with local volunteers who have been rehabilitating the structure as a community center.

At the Horicon town board meeting held July 19, the day camp’s operators and the volunteers offered differing opinions about how the building should be used.

The enterprise, known as Adirondack Arts & Science Day Camp, offers educational enrichment opportunities for children from kindergarten age through grade seven.

Al and Jess LaFountain operate the camp for five weeks during the summer.

Last year, they operated their day camp in the pavilion behind the Horicon Town Hall in Brant Lake, which Al LaFountain said was problematical, because wind and rain would often blow through the structure and disrupt the children’s activities.

The move to the old Adirondack hamlet schoolhouse, LaFountain said, improved student safety due to eliminating the need to cross Rte. 8 for trips to the beach, and the building in Adirondack now offered sanitary and convenient bathroom facilities.

However, several volunteers who worked on rehabilitating the building said that the town’s rental of the schoolhouse to the couple for five prime summer weeks prevented use of the building for meetings of civic and social groups, as was originally intended.

Michelle Montague, a parent of one of the students, said her child enjoyed the camp experiences immensely, and the enterprise should be allowed to fully use the facilities.

“This camp is providing a safe, happy, enriching environment,” she said, noting that the children were learning civic responsibility and helping the town by cleaning up the local roadside. In an environmental project, the students had picking up and disposed of a considerable amount of trash.

The children also helped remove invasive Japanese Knotweed from the park in the hamlet of Adirondack.

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