Former school being turned into apartment building
Efforts to transform a former school building into a 13-unit apartment building have begun, and should be finished by Thanksgiving, according to a spokesperson for AU Associates, Inc. “From the street view, it will look very much like a school still,” explained Johan Graham, director of development for AU Associates. “There won’t be many noticeable differences on the exterior.” On the interior, classrooms are being turned into modern apartments, with one-, two- or three bedrooms, he said. The affordable housing units will include washer/dryer hookups and kitchen appliances. Before tenants move into Versailles School Apartments, people in the community will have an opportunity to see inside the building and celebrate a private-public partnership that led to the historic school being preserved for an adaptive reuse. The Woodford County Board of Education sold the aging school building at 299 South Main Street in Versailles (most recently occupied by the Community Education Center) to AU Associates last year for $74,000. Low-income housing tax credits sold to investors, coupled with federal and state historic tax credits are funding construction costs of about $2.7 million, Graham said. Construction on Versailles School Apartments began about a month ago and workers are currently removing old partitions, floors and mechanical systems, Graham said. “Most of those ugly, modern details on the inside are coming on out,” he said. “So the (building) shell’s in great shape. The historic (architectural) details and wood are in great shape too. So once you kind of strip it down to its base elements, it’s actually a pretty sturdy structure.” He said construction workers should begin framing the apartment units in six to eight weeks. The installation of mechanical systems will happen next, he added. After transforming this former Versailles school into an apartment building, AU Associates will manage and own Versailles School Apartments, Graham said. “It’s sort of like Midway (School Apartments). We’ve been there for 18 years,” he said. Founded by Holly Wiedemann in 1990, AU Associates has created more than 350 units of mixed income housing, 100,000 square-feet of commercial space and over $50 million in projects across Kentucky and West Virginia, according to the nonprofit company’s website.