After saying farewell to its last group of students in June of 2017, Freewill Elementary school has stayed vacant for the past several years.
Located in Walworth as part of the Wayne Central School District, the property sat silently with many in the community wondering what, if anything, would ever become of the once bustling location at 4320 Canandaigua Road.
Earlier this year, the question of what’s next for Freewill got an exciting and definitive answer.
K2 Brothers Brewing, a local craft beer company with a flagship location on Empire Boulevard, stepped up to the very large plate with a massive plan.
Needing to expand their production facilities and wanting to create what they call "an adult playground," the brothers behind K2, Brad and Kyle Kennedy, scouted multiple locations and were finally introduced to the former school due to the amount of room available.
With over 72,000 square feet of existing indoor space and nearly 42 acres across the property, the brothers have been plotting out an extensive long-term plan to renovate and reinvigorate on a scale that’s almost too much to comprehend.
Step one was cleaning out and renovating the first wing of the project, including turning the former gymnasium into a massive 20 barrel brew house with over 600 barrels of fermentation space.
Brad Kennedy, alongside a crew of dozens of trade workers on Thursday, said of the project "For us this place was a no brainer."
A flurry of activity is humming at full speed to complete the initial renovations to be ready to open in the next few weeks.
Adam Cormack, General Manager of the new facility, says he’s eagerly awaiting the day he can throw open the front doors. "We want this to be a place for the community to come together. We’re so excited to open and have people check out what we’ve been working on."
After closing on the building back in May, the brothers and their family began the herculean task of trying to turn a school into a multi-purpose venue that will eventually include both indoor and outdoor entertaining spaces, meeting and party rooms, various gaming machines and more.
Cormack says "We want to become both a destination and also an asset to the community."
With a massive brand new commercial kitchen, a huge bar that is situated in the former cafeteria and more space than they know what to do with, Kennedy says there’s so many plans flying around that it will take several years to complete the full vision.
30 Draught lines will serve not only the breweries top creations, but also a selection of hard ciders, craft cocktails and a rotating variety of other craft brews.
The brothers plan to maintain the Empire Boulevard store as their flagship location, with the new venture being dubbed "K2 at Freewill."
The new production facility will allow the company to continue their expansion across New York state and beyond over the next few years.
The family says they’re always trying to find ways to reincorporate and repurpose both Freewill memorabilia as well as adding local flare whereever possible. The new bar for example was reproposed from the former Hegedorn property, and the quintessential multicolored primary school tile floors will remain in certain areas to again payhomage to the facility’s former glory.
There are plans to offer things such as catering and perhaps even take-and-bake meals to make K2 at Freewill a place where families and friends can meet, gather and enjoy cold cocktails, entertainment and the local scenery.
"If we can create options to make life easier then why wouldn’t we," said Cormack as he had Keneddy rattled off several plans for future events, live entertainment and meeting spaces for organizations and get-togethers.
While no official date has been set for a grand opening, the brewing brothers say they expect it be very soon, indicating that an announcement will be made via their social media and website over the next few weeks.
The brewery plans to offer sales of their beers and merchandise at the facilities retail storefront. Those interested in joining their "Mug Club" as a show of support and encouraged to visit their website at k2brewing.com.