The Old School by Shepard Industries

Tradition. Dedication. Sustainability. These ideals are found throughout North Dakota’s history, from the sodbusters of yesterday to today’s increasingly successful entrepreneurs. Although the face of agriculture has changed significantly, the goal of today's farmers and ranchers remains the same: to produce high quality products through responsible, humane, and sustainable practices. Yet in a world of instant gratification and technological breakthroughs, many traditional arts are fading away. The Old School by Shepard Industries was founded to preserve the historic methods of producing wool products through education, outreach, and fellowship.

When Teresa Perleberg (Bear Creek Felting) and Chris Armbrust (Dakota Fiber Mill) teamed up to create Shepard Industries, they knew they needed to find a place that could represent their values: tradition, education, and community. It didn't take them long to find the old Nome school.

The school was built in 1916 and closed in 1966. A frequent talking point, there have been many calls to restore the beautiful building. Although it's an intimidating project to tackle, Teresa and Chris quickly agreed that the school would be the perfect home for their vision.

They're striving to create a multi-purpose building that will enrich Nome and the surrounding communities. The spacious school will eventually be entirely utilized. The lower level will house North Dakota’s only full service natural fiber mill, as well as a dye room and two large workshop classrooms. Further down the hall, the former gymnasium will be converted into a 400-seat event center, ideal for family and class reunions, weddings, or arts programs. The school’s kitchens will provide quality on-site catering, and the classrooms will be refurbished into unique bed and breakfast rooms that celebrate North Dakota’s history.

The Old School is a creative way to breathe life back into a fading prairie town through arts, education, and fellowship.

Funded by Cass Clay (December 2018)