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Falls on the Colorado Museum closed for second-floor renovations

Many former Marble Falls students tell tales of sliding down the fire escape from the second floor of the Old Granite School building, now The Falls on the Colorado Museum, at 2001 Broadway. That exciting (and forbidden) exit is currently covered up by plywood. It will reopen (but still be forbidden) when second-floor renovations to the museum are completed sometime in July. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

Phase I of renovations to the second floor of The Falls on the Colorado Museum in Marble Falls could begin as soon as Monday, April 15, which means the museum will be closed for the rest of the month. 

“We’ve already ripped out the carpet and are working to restore it back to its original floors,” said Stan Whittle, assistant superintendent of Administration for the Marble Falls Independent School District, which owns the historic building. “We are also preparing the walls and ceilings and getting them ready for paint.”

Interior walls not original to the building will be torn down and the space opened up for future exhibits. Framing in the attic will be reinforced as will the floor joists between the first and second floors. Exterior cracks in the granite masonry will also be repaired.

The MFISD Board of Trustees recently approved $250,000 for the work,which is due to be completed sometime in mid-July, said district Bond Director Mackie Price. 

“We should be done on the first floor by (April) 24th so the museum can have it back,” Price told “Work can continue with the museum open after that.” 

The museum is housed in the Old Granite School building at 2001 Broadway in Marble Falls. The museum leases the building from the district and is responsible for further renovations needed to open the second floor for exhibit space. 

“The museum will be responsible for replacing the upstairs windows,” said Amanda Seim, chair of the The Falls on the Colorado board. “We will also be repairing the interior stairs and improving the handrails.” 

Several of the museum’s windows, both upstairs and downstairs, were broken during a hailstorm on April 9.

Replacing windows could cost as much as $5,000 each. The current windows are aluminum and deteriorating. New windows will be built to replicate the original first-floor windows with curved glass over large rectangular panes. 

A considerable amount of fundraising will be necessary to pay for what Seim is calling Phase 2 of the restoration, which will open the second floor to the public for the first time since 1987, when it was used for Marble Falls school administration offices. 

The Old Granite School building first opened its doors to Marble Falls students in 1908. It was built in 1891 as a university. It served students until the MFISD administration moved to new digs at 1800 Colt Circle and the last remaining classrooms were assigned to newer campuses.

“I know the community wants to be involved in restoring this historic landmark,” said Seim, adding that fundraising opportunities are already in the works. “This building means a lot to people.”

Whittle remembers the building when it housed administration but knows several people who went to school there. 

“That building is the heartbeat of the Marble Falls Independent School District,” he said. “A lot of love and inspiration has gone into that building, and we want to build on that and make sure the integrity of the building is intact.”