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Tuapeka Mouth School preservation trustee Gaye Cowie said the school was built in 1879 and was still in its original condition.
The building is typical of the No 1 School Plan building built by the Otago Education Board in 1870s and found throughout Otago.
"The builders were from England, and when they built the school, they put the windows on the south side of the building, because that was what you did back then," Ms Cowie said.
"The children froze, and they had to move the windows to the other side of the building. You can still see where the windows were originally."
The memorial gates were put up in 1930 to celebrate the school's jubilee and commemorate the men who fought in World War 1, a reminder of the sacrifices made by small communities.
The school closed on January 31, 1949, and pupils transferred to Clutha Valley Primary School, in Clydevale.
Ms Cowie said members of the Tuapeka Mouth community recognised the historic significance of the building, and the school preservation trust was formed in 2007.
Public submissions on the proposal close this Friday.