Former school will find new life as The Schoolhouse Hotel
A magnet for visitors since 1778, White Sulphur Springs will soon offer yet another drawing card with the addition of the city’s first full-service boutique hotel.
Remodeling of the former White Sulphur Springs High School is now underway, with a target opening date for its new life as The Schoolhouse Hotel set for Dec. 31, barring unforeseen delays.
“It’s going to be amazing,” the hotel’s operations manager, White Sulphur native Cindy Bennett, said. “Every attention to detail has been taken. We want this hotel to not only house guests from out of the area, but also serve as a hub for the community.”
In an interview with The Register-Herald, Bennett enumerated the new hotel’s amenities, ranging from 28 uniquely appointed guest rooms, some with exposed brick walls, plus a pair of large suites, to a flexible ballroom space based in the original school’s gymnasium, and a rooftop bar affording “wonderful views” across the city. An upscale restaurant/grill, lobby and ballroom foyer, all within new construction on either side of the original structure, will complete the fully-accessible hotel.
Having grown up in White Sulphur, Bennett is fully aware of the presence of the luxurious 710-room Greenbrier resort just at the edge of town.
“There has never before been the option to have a full-service establishment for The Greenbrier’s guest overflow,” she said, noting The Schoolhouse Hotel’s positioning in the middle of the city’s revitalized downtown offers plenty of opportunities for partnerships with other merchants.
“White Sulphur is really starting to bloom,” Bennett said.
Mayor Bruce Bowling couldn’t agree more.
“We are beyond thrilled to welcome The Schoolhouse Hotel to downtown White Sulphur Springs,” Bowling said in a Feb. 11 press release. “With so much of our town’s history wrapped up in the old school, we can’t wait to see how they transform it. This hotel will be a major part of the ongoing revitalization of White Sulphur Springs and provide our citizens with more economic opportunities and local jobs to grow even further.”
Management at The Greenbrier also was quoted in the release welcoming the new hotel.
“The Greenbrier is excited about all of the incredible projects underway in White Sulphur Springs, including the new Schoolhouse Hotel,” Greenbrier President Jill Justice said. “We’re proud to call White Sulphur Springs home, and the work that many are doing to show off this community’s beauty and charm is wonderful to see.”
Purchased from the city a little over a year ago by the Disability Opportunity Fund, the former school had for many years served as the community’s civic center. In its new guise as a hotel, the property will employ between 40 and 50 people plus additional contract labor for seasonal work and event service, according to Bennett.
No one understands the message represented by new lodging construction in White Sulphur and Lewisburg — where a Hilton Home 2 Suites is now hiring in anticipation of its impending opening — better than Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Kara Dense.
“I truly think it says a lot about our area,” Dense told The Register-Herald. “The Greenbrier has drawn guests to the valley for centuries, and it’s obvious that people want to continue to visit. Even in the middle of a pandemic, people are still coming here.”
The Schoolhouse Hotel, she said, will offer a “very unique choice” for visitors and locals as well, with memorabilia from the old school incorporated into the hotel’s decor.
“Repurposing that building creates another reason for people to come here,” Dense added. “With a brewery soon to open and all of the new shops in downtown White Sulphur Springs, it’s setting the stage for even more growth and vitality in Greenbrier County. Any time one attraction succeeds, the entire county benefits.”
She noted, “So many of our businesses are dependent on visitors. And the amenities that attract visitors improve the quality of local residents’ lives as well.”
The Schoolhouse Hotel is expected to begin taking reservations as early as September or October, according to Bennett. For additional information, visit www.theschoolhousehotelwv.com.