The Old School, constructed in 1910 as one of Loudoun County’s earliest public schools, sits on five acres at the northeastern entry point to the village of Waterford. It replaced the Waterford Academy, an 1880 structure that burned down. The Waterford Foundation purchased the property from the Loudoun County School Board in 1966.
The auditorium and the connecting hyphen to the classrooms were built in 1928. Concerts, town meetings, political debates, wedding receptions, Waterford Fair exhibits, and celebrations are among the many community events that have taken place in the auditorium and classrooms over the past 40 years.
In January 2007 a devastating fire severely damaged the Greek Revival classroom building and completely destroyed the auditorium. The Waterford Foundation, its supporters, and the community pulled together to restore and rebuild the Waterford Old School. State and Federal guidelines for historic preservation required that the historic classroom building be carefully restored to standards established by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. All woodwork, for example, was replicated, doors matched, windows totally restored and floors refinished.
After holding a public meeting to hear the community’s vision for the new auditorium, the Foundation began plans for rebuilding the auditorium. Quinn Evans Architects were selected to design the new building and guide the restoration of the classroom building. For the next two years plans were developed and reviewed by all the stakeholders–Foundation members and the community, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources which holds the easement on the property, Loudoun County’s Historic District Review Committee–and permits were applied for.
In 2009, the Foundation was ready to launch the Raise the Roof of the Old School capital campaign. It took four long years to raise the funds necessary to begin construction. In April 2011, with the classroom building completely restored and with $1.4 million raised––eighty percent of the estimated construction costs––the Board of Directors voted to forge ahead and start construction of the new auditorium. It was completed in April 2012 and opened to the public at the Foundation’s Annual Meeting. The Waterford Old School has been returned to the greater Waterford community for another century (or two) of great cultural and educational events.