Grab a pint in this former Wayne County elementary school
WALWORTH, N.Y. — For the past six years, Freewill Elementary School in Wayne County has sat vacant. But starting Saturday, it will open its doors once again…to adults.
Local craft brewery K2 Brothers Brewing is turning the old school into a restaurant, taproom, and brewery. The Walworth school is the Penfield-based brand’s second location.
“The transition’s been amazing, going from an old school house […] to keeping the school vibe, but also make it more modern and feeling more adult-like,” Co-owner Kyle Kennedy said.
Even though the clientele is well past elementary school, they can still grab a seat at one of the original lunch tables. Or, they can choose something a little higher off the ground, on some of the newer furniture.
Nicknamed “K2 at Freewill,” the space features a brand new bar, a stage for live music, and a whole bunch of classic bar games in the back. And while the kitchen looks more or less the same, they’re cooking up a lot more than chicken nuggets.
One of the biggest features is something the customers may never get to: The new brewery built inside the larger of the school’s two gymnasiums.
“When we came in here and we saw the gym it was just magnificent how tall the ceilings were how big it was,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said this will massively increase operations, allowing them to ferment six times as much beer as their Penfield location.
The cafeteria and gymnasium renovations are just the start for the school makeover. There are still dozens of empty rooms spanning several wings.
“The goal is to have a lot more corporate party rooms, gaming center, gaming area,” Kennedy said. “I keep calling it an adult playground — but I want it to be a place where everyone can come. I want it to be a fun place, all fun things in one place.”
Those fun things may include a wedding venue, and possibly some Airbnbs. One of their more immediate goals is a bowling alley.
“We outgrew our [Penfield] building a long time ago,” Kennedy said. “Here, we should never outgrow anything, so we’re excited to not have to worry about outgrowing again on this space.”
Before K2, Freewill Elementary School’s only use in Wayne Central School District was storage. It’s a fate that a handful of buildings in the Rochester City School District face, too. As the district downsizes, they’ll be turning some buildings back over to the City of Rochester.
If they get turned over to the private sector, who knows what kind of unconventional spaces might follow in K2’s footsteps?
“The renovation’s been wild, outdid our dreams of what we thought. It’s exciting, what we hoped it would look like, it looks so much better, so I’m excited to be able to share this with everybody.”
The business will open its doors to the public Saturday at noon.