Scott Swenson, a National Park Service carpenter, puts the final pieces in on a ramp on the newly restored Pratt Sheep Barn. The 1930s barn will serve as a classroom one it officially opens in July. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group

Scott Swenson, a National Park Service carpenter, puts the final pieces in on a ramp on the newly restored Pratt Sheep Barn. The 1930s barn will serve as a classroom one it officially opens in July. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group

Historic sheep barn repurposed

Tucked away on the Pratt Loop Trail, a formerly dilapidated 1930s sheep barn will soon serve as a classroom. Rehabilitation of the National Park Service Pratt Sheep Barn is nearing completion, with a public open house scheduled for July 28.

“It’s not like it’s a fancy building,” said Kristen Griffin, Reserve manager for Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. “It just has so much to it as a sweet barn from that period.”

The building had been on the NPS “deferred maintenance” list for years until enough funding was secured among the Park Service, Friends of Ebey’s fundraising group and other donations to complete the significant amount of work needed to restore it. The structure needed a floor, new doors and a number of other basics to be usable as a classroom. Park Service preservation carpenters, who specialize in techniques used on historic buildings, have done the work.

“It’s all done the right way,” said Griffin.

The renovations included adding heating and lights, but other than those pieces of technology, Griffin said it’s meant to stay simple and close to its original form. The groups decided to keep a basketball hoop that was already in the building, although no one knows how long it has been there.

The building will be free to use for teachers, nature groups and nonprofit organizations. However, Griffin made it clear it will not be an event venue.

“We want it to be quiet and peaceful and educationally oriented,” she said.

A nearby machine shed that served the barn is also under renovation, but no plans have been made for it yet, according to Sarah Steen, preservation coordinator at the Reserve. As work has been done on the structure, old tools have been found and hung up on the wall. Steen and Griffin wanted to remind the public to leave found artifacts for others to enjoy at historical sites.

The opening of the classroom marks one of several ongoing projects as the Reserve celebrates its 40th anniversary. Griffin said the building would still be left to continue to deteriorate had it not been for the engaged groups and individuals that contributed to its rehabilitation.

“We don’t have a tremendous amount of resources,” she said. “And it never would’ve happened if people hadn’t come forward and helped.”

• More information can be found at www.nps.gov/ebla

More in News

Large parrots and machete-wielding man | Island Scanner

The following items were selected from reports made to the Island County… Continue reading

State to pay property owners to allow deer hunting

The state is encouraging hunting in an attempt to ease deer overpopulation… Continue reading

Drug Court graduate sent to prison for series of crimes

Two years ago, South Whidbey resident Kody Schwiger graduated from adult Drug… Continue reading

WhidbeyHealth begins ongoing ‘SAIL’ class for fall prevention

WhidbeyHealth Medical Center is offering a twice-a-week exercise program for senior falls… Continue reading

Former pizza shop employee charged with burglary

A former manager at an Oak Harbor pizza joint is accused of… Continue reading

Nonprofit Life Flight opening base on Whidbey

Emergency transportation will soon be more immediate on Whidbey Island. Life Flight… Continue reading

Oak Harbor mayor asks AG to dismiss Growler lawsuit

Oak Harbor Mayor Bob Severns is asking the state attorney general to… Continue reading

A place of hope: Local nonprofit’s sober house helps give men a new start

Seven formerly homeless men recently sat in the living room of a… Continue reading

Man gets 6 months for ‘communicating with a minor for immoral purposes’

A 32-year-old petty chief in the Navy originally accused of raping a… Continue reading

Most Read