WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WVNS) – Since the beginning of the project, the development of the Schoolhouse Hotel has served as a symbol for the rebuilding of White Sulphur Springs after the city was devastated by flooding in 2016.
Today, the entire community came out to celebrate as the hotel opened it’s doors to the public for the first time.
The grand opening of the schoolhouse hotel represents a major milestone in White Sulphur Springs’ recovery and future as a city, while also honoring memories of the past.
There are still signs for the principal’s office, honor roll, and other mementos to celebrate the history of the building that used to be White Sulphur Springs High School.
However, when Charlie Hammerman, whose company owns the building, was redesigning the schoolhouse, it wasn’t just the history of the building he wanted to feature, he also turned the schoolhouse hotel into the only fully-handicap-accessible hotel in the entire world.
“When we had this great opportunity to do this project, we decided to do something nobody’s ever thought of before,” Hammerman, the CEO and President of the Disability Opportunity Fund told 59News. “So we said ‘let’s do it!”
And that didn’t just mean making every room handicap accessible, but even changing things you wouldn’t even think of.
For example, the bar in the lobby is 18 inches lower than a normal bar, so someone sitting in a wheelchair can sit eye level with the bartender instead of having to look up.
Guests like Mack McIntire described the Schoolhouse Hotel as a major milestone for the handicapped community
“All I can say to someone out there, if you need a respite, if you’d like to go somewhere where you feel comfortable and you’re in a wheelchair, please, please, you need to come,” said McIntire. “Spend a weekend, spend a night here. Put it on your destinations to be a tourist and come see it for a day.”
But the grand opening of the Schoolhouse is also a major milestone for the entire city of White Sulphur Springs.
And something local politicians say their community is very proud of.
“This is just a remarkable achievement, it’s so wonderful for White Sulphur. The mayor, the city council, the whole community has embraced this project,” said U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito.
“Everyone is welcomed. Everyone has a place. And it really means so much to me, and the community, and the travelers who come to see how beautiful West Virginia really is,” said Vince Deeds, a Republican candidate for the state senate from Greenbrier County.