Joyce McMaster, current owner of The Little Red Schoolhouse Restaurant, hopes that it can remain a gathering place. York Dispatch


The Little Red Schoolhouse building, which withstood an electrical fire that scorched its interior three months ago, got a sweet ending when it was purchased by local creamery owners.

Half Pint Creamery has three locations in Adams County — its first location is in McSherrystown, about a half a mile away from the Hanover-area schoolhouse.

That store will be moving its operations into the schoolhouse building, at 5705 Hanover Road, in Conewago Township, Adams County, after renovations.

It's expected to open in the winter of 2020 or in 2021.

Coming full circle: Half Pint Creamery owners Trish and Travis Sentz have had their eye on the former one-room schoolhouse since before they went into business in McSherrystown five years ago.

At the time, it was too expensive for a start-up business and would have still required a lot of work for what they envisioned, said Trish Sentz, when reached Monday, June 11. 

Now, after the fire, they know it will be a huge undertaking, but they are looking forward to the project.

"Travis and I did something very terrifying yet extremely exciting this morning," she announced on the creamery's Facebook page Saturday, June 9.

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Owner Joyce McMaster, who formerly operated the Little Red Schoolhouse restaurant in the building, had the site sold at auction that morning, and the couple bought it for $65,000.

More: After fire, Little Red Schoolhouse goes up for auction

More: PHOTOS: Remembering The Little Red Schoolhouse

"We really didn't want to see it destroyed," said Trish Sentz, who had a feeling that might happen if they didn't buy it. 

They do not own any of their current locations — operating under leases for each of them — so the schoolhouse provided an opportunity for something more permanent.

Old school meets new school: Trish Sentz said she and her husband plan to keep the character of the building by leaving the exterior as is and modeling the interior after their current locations to "mesh the old school and new school together." 

It's a bigger space in square footage than their McSherrystown store, but the layout might not allow for much more indoor seating, she said. They hope to add more outdoor seating instead to take advantage of the historic atmosphere.

But they also plan to incorporate history where they can. McMaster has a box of items such as old photographs that Trish Sentz will put up on the walls so customers can relive the memories of who came before.

DIY: The couple created a Facebook page, Half Pint Creamery Renovations, so the community can follow along during the renovations and share in the experience.

It's a DIY project for Trish Sentz and her husband, who will do all the demolition as well as smaller renovations to the interior. They will leave larger projects to contractors, since they don't have all the necessary equipment or time, she said. 

The project will be expensive, she said, likely requiring a new roof with replacement trusses because of the fire damage, all new HVAC and electrical work and extensive interior rehab.

But Trish Sentz plans to hire some friends who own local businesses for some contracting work so they can support small businesses in the area.

They will be able to start assessing the building after they get the keys at the end of the month at settlement.

In her Facebook post, Trish Sentz reflected on the big move.

"If you don’t jump, your parachute will never open," she wrote. "It will be a fun and exciting adventure and I can’t wait to share all of the life lessons this project is sure to throw at us."

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