Old Schoolhouse: The Real Deal

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Bloomsburg Schoolhouse, once a junior-senior high school where knowledge was dispensed and teens were molded into responsible adults, has been transformed into a place where beer is worshiped and books are burned, a setting that personifies what every high school guy hopes college can be: Bloomsburg’s own Animal House.

Bloomsburg Schoolhouse was a place I had only heard stories about while living as a freshman in Elwell Hall. Constructed in 1925 as the town’s junior-senior high school, the old school building now serves as a home for many Bloomsburg University students. Tales of the drinking parties and Animal House-like nature of the facility were legendary to a freshman student like myself, as the only parties I knew of consisted of paying five bucks to stand in a overcrowded room for two hours while managing to make it to the keg four times, if I was lucky. The more good things I heard about the schoolhouse, the more that I felt it was the perfect place to establish the beginning of my sophomore year at Bloomsburg. With summer winding down and many student housing options now unavailable, I figured that I’d go take a look and experience the legendary facility firsthand.

After parking my car and approaching the monstrous school-turned-apartment complex with my future roommate, I was surprised that the building looked somewhat different than what was advertised on the apartment’s Web site. Scattered forms of anatomically correct graffiti, shattered glass at the floor of a battered side door, and a naked pole whose flag was long lost and forgotten eerily foreshadowed the anarchist tendencies set forth each and every evening in the almost 100-year-old building.

My initial surprise was only matched by the jaw-dropping state of the inside of the building as an overwhelming stench of stale Natural Ice beer and Marlboro cigarettes nearly caused me to add to the already hardening pile of vomit so conveniently nestled on the concrete outside. One can say that the inside is carpeted: abandoned blunt wraps, dutch guts, cigarette butts, and smashed Keystone Light bottles cover up the peeling concrete to make up somewhat of a legitimate second level of flooring. Despite the so-bad-it’s-actually-funny state of the immediate inside of the building, as one creeps up the stairs, a different, eerier side of the complex is revealed.

Random staircases, tunnel-sized hallways, and flickering light fixtures make up the haunted side of Bloomsburg Schoolhouse, which ironically is conveniently placed just across the street from the town’s cemetery. Stories of ghosts and other chilling happenings are often shared among residents. My current roommate and I had our own experience with a vampire bat that somehow entered our apartment and began flying about. Even today as I walk through the old halls lined with abandoned lockers, I can’t help but be reminded of scenes from The Shining. I almost expect to turn a corner and see Jack Nicholson with an axe, or “REDRUM” scrawled in red paint across one of the long-forgotten student lockers.

While the old school house may not be the most normal or well-kept place to live in Bloomsburg, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some great experiences in the old shack. Despite the negatives, the schoolhouse serves as a great place to meet new people, have some good times, and experience first-hand what college life is all about. Unlike many other off-campus options, with Bloomsburg Schoolhouse, what you see is what you get, and I’m sure many students like me are willing to sacrifice mere cleanliness for one of the safest, cheapest, and most reliable off-campus housing options on the market.

So if you’re looking for fun, safe, and affordable housing and can carry on the old schoolhouse tradition, give it a look, and try not to judge a book by its cover.

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  1. The old schoolhouse is not safe I was just robbed at scissor point and nothing is being done furthermore I asked for a peephole to be installed and my request was refused! I’ve had things taken from my apartment many times and one of my neighbors was mugged right in the hallway. The police would rather harass me about a noise complaint than do anything to help! The fire alarms go off and no one comes for hours, there is always a mess in the halls and people have rocks thrown into there car windows all the time! I can’t wait to move at the end of the summer to be honest!

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