by Mitchell Kirk
---- — The transformation of the former McKinley school in Logansport into a senior housing facility, originally scheduled to begin this month, has been pushed back to mid-November after the developer decided to include features that will make the building more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
"Originally we thought we'd be buttoned up right now in delivering the building in late spring, but now we're thinking early summer," said James Wilson, president of Indianapolis-based Crestline Communities, which is developing the property.
A month's delay resulted from including provisions in designs that would bring the property at 1501 Meadlawn Ave. in line with standards established by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, program through the U.S. Green Building Council.
LEED uses a rating system that offers credits in the areas of sustainability, water efficiency, air quality and other criteria to determine a building's certification level.
While McKinley was built in 1925, requiring several adaptations to be added to the designs to bring it up to LEED standards, Wilson said preserving the building is also among his goals.
"We want to be mindful of the structure and want to preserve what we can," he said. "It's actually in very good shape and we want to take advantage of that."
Some work has started at the site, Wilson said, like the removal of a boiler in the building's basement and having structural engineers cut into the walls to get a better idea of what lies beneath them.
The project will not require a lot of demolition, Wilson said.
"The building lays itself out almost into apartment-home sizes," he said, adding most of the interior walls will be kept intact.
While windows will need to be added to the existing building, most of project's construction will come in the form of the addition of the three-story wing, along with the drainage work that will commence this fall.
"It's important we get that done before the end of December because you never know what January weather will be like," Wilson said of the drainage work. Framing will take place throughout the winter.
The result will be a 38-unit, age-restricted facility for residents 55 and older offering 19 one-bedroom and 19 two-bedroom apartments with full kitchens, full bathrooms, washers and dryers. A lobby will connect the old and the new wings of the building, while the community room with a warming kitchen, computer station and books as well as seating areas throughout will connect its residents.
Wilson said historic prints and artwork from classes that attended the school will decorate its interior.
"The building will ultimately celebrate the history of it as a school," he said.
The exterior of the building was designed with this in mind as well, Wilson said, as the new wing will be added to its east side, allowing the existing structure to remain in the foreground when driving up to it.
"The new wing is really designed to sit back and let the historic building be what you visualize and what you see when you approach the building," he said.
An elevator in the new wing will provide access to the entire building, which will align with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The facility will also staff a full-time manager and office worker and will be equipped with controlled access doors and security cameras.
Outside the building, raised planting beds will be available in a resident garden along with new sidewalks and streetlights.
No traffic delays are expected during construction, Wilson said, as curb cuts already exist on the site.
Crestline Communities received more than $600,000 in tax credits a year for the next 10 years from the state in March to fund the project.
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or email@example.com. Follow him: @PharosMAK
Plans for McKinley senior housing • 19 one-bedroom, 19 two-bedroom units with full kitchens, full bathrooms, washers and dryers • Community room • Controlled access doors and security cameras • Resident garden