2016 Polly’s Schoolhouse Report
The Polly Texas Pioneer Association, a partner with TexasTejano.com, is pleased to report on their “Polly Schoolhouse Project”. Beginning in May of 2015, they began talking to the Bandera Independent School District about the transfer of Polly’s Schoolhouse; a one-room schoolhouse built in 1892 by Jose Policarpio “Polly” Rodriguez and its grounds to their Association. Their intent is to clean the one-acre grounds, restore the schoolhouse and transform it into a cultural and educational community center. At the request of Bandera ISD, for package submittals, they contracted with TexasTejano.com to prepare an extensive package containing historical background on the Schoolhouse, their plans for restoration and funding, and proposed use of the Schoolhouse.
In February of 2016, TexasTejano.com contacted and negotiated with Charles Rothe & Associates to survey the property to complete the title transfer which was done at no cost. By June, TexasTejano.com prepared and executed a public relations and marketing campaign along with landscaping plans to raise awareness of the project. Radio coverage was received and great newspaper coverage was had in much of the hill country and San Antonio area. Click here to see an article on the Cleanup.
To reach as many people as possible, they began mailing informational packets with requests for support to past and present supporters, as well as to Polly, Texas businesses, and residents. On August 13th, they had the first official Polly’s Schoolhouse Cleanup Day where Mr. Jason Benedict of “Yellow Dog Services” donated time and equipment to remove cedar brush and trees. The brush and trees were used for mulch around the Schoolhouse grounds.
By late-August, they were planning and organizing an Open house to kick off the capital campaign. October 1st was their second committee meeting which focused on the Open house and fundraising efforts. In preparation, a volunteer cleanup day was held on October 22nd. Friends, family, and community members helped with the cleaning. Special thanks to Mr. Kevin Berry from the Berry Ranch for donating their Bobcat Skid Loader and tree shear, and the help of his ranch hand Mr. Carl Gipson to finish cutting and clearing cedar at the site. Some volunteers pruned trees left standing in the front with great results.
During this period, some stabilization of the windows, doors, and floors occurred. The fence line was cleaned and the gate has become operational. Inside, floors and walls were cleaned. Plus, storyboards with history on Polly and the Schoolhouse and their plans for the Schoolhouse were hung. The storyboards are on display in the Schoolhouse for everyone to enjoy. Also, historical signage was placed on the grounds. Lastly, application for electric service has been placed with Bandera Electric Co-op.
“To date, we’ve raised about $12,000 and have 30 Polly’s Schoolhouse Committee Members. The total restoration cost is $70,000 and we are sure we’ll get there with the help of friends, family, and the community,” says Schoolhouse Committee Chairman Rudi Rodriguez. If you’d like to become a committee member, contribute, or volunteer, please contact Mr. Rudi Rodriguez at (210) 673-3584 or visit their website at pollytexaspioneerassociation.org.