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School converted into upscale lodge on Salmon River to open in December

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ALTMAR — An abandoned elementary school built in 1929 near the Salmon River in Oswego County has been converted into a 42,000-square-foot upscale hotel and convention center that will open in December.

The 42-room Tailwater Lodge, 52 Pulaski St., is being retrofitted by Woodbine Group, a Syracuse-based property development company. The multimillion-dollar center will feature a restaurant and bar inside the former gymnasium, along with a recreational area with pool tables and video games on what used to be the stage. The center will include a conference room with seating for about 100 people and meeting rooms. Cabins also will be built on the property, where guests will enjoy 1,700 feet of waterfront access to fish on the Salmon River, said Thomas J. Fernandez, director of business development for Woodbine.

“We want this to be a world-class fishing lodge on the Salmon River,” Mr. Fernandez said. “We’re located about equidistant from the Watertown-Canadian area and Syracuse and Utica. If you take Oswego County, there’s really not a lot else going on, social-wise. But we think there are a lot of people that would want to meet here” to enjoy outdoor sports.

Rows of classrooms at the building in different shapes and sizes were retrofitted into hotel rooms, Mr. Fernandez said. Pricing for rooms will start at about $180 per night.

The school design “plays very well into a hotel,” he said. “We took each classroom and split it in two. Some rooms have super-tall ceilings; others are smaller.”

The conversion of old hotels and residences is the specialty of the Woodbine Group, Mr. Fernandez said. In Syracuse, the company owns and operates the Genesee Grande Hotel, Parkview Hotel and Hotel Skyler, formerly a Jewish temple built in 1921.

The company believes the Tailwater Lodge will lure in people from across the Northeast, Mr. Fernandez said. Its research found that people visit the Salmon River area in Oswego County from downstate New York, New Jersey and Syracuse. Families already visit small lodges near the river to enjoy fishing, whitewater rafting, boating, water-tubing and skiing.

“There are plenty of small lodges, but we wanted to build something that shows the Salmon River and what the north country has to offer,” Mr. Fernandez said.

Follow Tailwater Lodge on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TailwaterLodge.

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