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MFISD funding boosts history museum, lessons for students

The Falls on the Colorado Museum

Marble Falls ISD approved money to renovate the second story of The Falls on the Colorado Museum to stabilize the historic structure and expand exhibit space. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

The Falls on the Colorado Museum can now expand its exhibit space with $250,000 from the Marble Falls Independent School District. The MFISD Board of Trustees approved the funds on March 19 for repairs to the historic structure, 2001 Broadway, which the district owns and leases to the museum officials.

The money will be spent to stabilize the museum’s second story.

“I think this is something that is precious to our community,” MFISD Superintendent Dr. Jeff Gasaway said during the school board meeting. “It would not be wise to let it go untreated because I think it will fall into a state of disarray.”

The Old Granite Building, now the museum, was constructed in 1891 and was the first Marble Falls schoolhouse, educating students from 1908 until 1987. The district leased it to The Falls on the Colorado Museum board in 2010.

“This is a living monument of Marble Falls history,” Assistant Superintendent of Administration Stan Whittle told the board.

Sparks Engineering identified problems with the building’s crawlspace, attic, floor framing, and second-story interior walls. MFISD enlisted Target Solutions to correct the issues.

The museum will handle other improvements, including replacing 57 windows at an estimated cost of about $240,000. Officials are considering fundraisers to help pay for the project.

“As soon as you tell us to go to work, we’ll go to work fundraising,” museum Vice Chairman Darlene Oostemeyer told the school board.

One plan is to let museum donors purchase a window at a time for $5,000 and add their names to the windowsills.

The work is vital to preserving the past into the future, Oostemeyer said.

“Our vision is to keep that building standing for another 100 years, hopefully, if we don’t have a tornado or other mass catastrophe going on,” she said.

Superintendent Gasaway reminded MFISD trustees of the district’s mission of bringing more students to the site to learn about local history. 

“My hope is that every single one of our elementary campuses will pick a grade level (to send to the museum), because it is a gem,” he said.

The Falls on the Colorado Museum, 2001 Broadway in Marble Falls, is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Admission is free.