A storage closet serving as a guidance office, a too-small cafeteria, damage from roof leaks and noisy old ventilators. A recent tour of the Tisbury School showed that the oldest school in use on the Island, though patched in places to fix small problems, needs a significant overhaul as the school body outgrows the aging building.

That was a theme repeated by school principal John Custer as he led a group of district administrators, school committee members, and school advisory members through the building Tuesday morning. The tour was meant to provide an overview of areas that need improvement in the building, and was sparked by a similar event hosted at the high school last year. Tours of the Chilmark School, Edgartown School, and Oak Bluffs School are also planned.

The school was built in 1929, with a gymnasium added in 1938, and an addition in 1995. The addition contains two kindergarten classrooms, two middle school science classrooms, and the library. It is also the location of the school’s elevator, installed to make the building compliant with the American Disabilities Act.

Enrollment as of October 2014 was 324 students.

A modular building, dubbed the little white house, houses remedial programs and English Language Learner programs. — Ivy Ashe

The school building’s future has been discussed for years. A feasibility study was conducted in 2012, and explored whether renovation, expansion, or relocation would be appropriate. The roof, which leaked and created considerable damage to the rest of the building, was replaced last summer. The school applied last year for funding from the Massachusetts School Building Association but did not make the list; the school committee has decided to re-apply with the next funding cycle.

“We make it work,” Mr. Custer said throughout his tour. In one case, a storage closet has been converted to a tiny guidance office.

“We needed space for people and programs,” he said. The school rents a modular building outside of the main school that is used for remedial math and reading programs and English Language Learner classes.

“It’s not ideal, kids have to literally leave the main building,” Mr. Custer said. “Security, time, we think about all of those things. We don’t know what we can do without it, but we can do better.”

“We’re stepping now from 1995 to 1929,” the principal said as he led the tour into the three-story main building, noting that the brick wall of the stairwell was once the exterior wall of the building. Mr. Custer himself attended the school, and drew on his own memories while walking the halls. Some rooms Mr. Custer had classes in, such as vocal instruction, are still used for that purpose. Other areas, like the old locker rooms, are now used for other things, like instrument practice.

“A lot of retrofitting went into this room,” Mr. Custer said of the instrument room, where students rehearsed music from How to Train Your Dragon.

The group turned into a classroom across the hall from the instrument room, currently the Spanish room but last year a first grade classroom. The room has also been used as a resource room for kindergarten through fourth grade special education but because of its small size was cited by the state.

“We knew it, but couldn’t do anything about it,” Mr. Custer said. “It moved a couple of years ago.” The resource room is now upstairs. With two special education teachers using the room, it is deemed only acceptable by the state.

On the second floor, home to grades two through four, the group stopped at the nurse’s office, an L-shaped room with a narrow entry way and room for just one bed.

“We make do,” nurse Catherine Coogan said.

“There’s no privacy, no room for treatment,” Mr. Custer said. “It’s one of the more embarrassing spaces in the building, frankly.”

Adjacent to the nurse is one of the school’s recent fixes. Room 216 got a new laminate floor over the winter, to replace the old maple hardwood that was buckling so much it showed “speed bumps.”

The laminate for one room cost $10,000, Mr. Custer said. “This was our test to see if we liked it, and what the cost would be.”

The gym features a shorter-than-regulation basketball court, a stage, and a row of wooden fold-up bleachers along one wall, Mr. Custer pointed to the room’s centerpiece: the hardwood floor.

“It’s a really cool floor,” he said. “It gets stained and refinished once a year, but it’s just old and you can’t sustain it over 85 years.” Besides the school, the gym is used for Tisbury’s annual town meeting. It is also used as an emergency shelter by the Red Cross, but is a dead zone for wireless networking.

Karen Burke, a member of the Tisbury school advisory committee, pointed out that the folding bleachers do not unfold all the way down to the floor, leaving an unsafe step up for people, particularly grandparents, to navigate when attending school basketball and volleyball games. The basketball court is not regulation size (it is the width of the three-point line), which is a safety concern when playing games, physical education teacher Kevin Nichols said.

Noticeable differences in temperature were observed during the tour, with the halls relatively chilly compared to the warmer classrooms. The building is heated by two steam water boilers, both of which are close to the end of their service lives, and one hot water boiler. Radiators and unit ventilators are used throughout, but the unit ventilators are “increasingly unreliable,” as Mr. Custer noted in a handout detailing the building concern. Older units create “considerable background noise” in classrooms.

On entering the cafeteria space, Mr. Custer noted that the school has five lunch periods in order to accommodate all students, since the room has a maximum capacity of 80. Administrators considered expanding the cafeteria by taking down a wall separating it from the family and consumer science classroom next door, but an engineer determined that particular wall was required to keep the building structurally sound.

And even the addition, which is 20 years old, is already showing signs of wear. There is condensation in the double-paned windows, a sign of problems with the sealants. And ironically, Mr. Custer said, the newest classrooms in the building suffered some of the worst moisture damage from the roof leaks. Still, the science classrooms are up-to-date with equipment, and have one major perk.

“They are bigger,” he said to the group. “You’ll notice that immediately.”