KatieOlthoff.com participates in affiliate marketing and other forms of advertising. We only recommend products and services we believe in and think they will be of use to you. As such, posts on this website may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my disclosure policy. Thank you for your support of this website and our family.

The Ultimate Repurpose: 90-year-old school turned into brand new condos!

When I was in college as an elementary education major, my child development class required a “lab” of sorts.  I was assigned to an after school program at a local elementary school, where I worked with students, learned more about child development, and put into practice some of the things I was learning in class.

My practicum took place at Roosevelt Elementary School, in a beautiful old neighborhood in Ames, Iowa.  Last month, I had the opportunity to visit Roosevelt Elementary again, more than 10 years later, this time getting a behind-the-scenes look at the “adaptive renovation” that has been in the process for the past three years.

The school was built in 1923-24 and closed in 2005. In December 2005, RES-Development, Inc. began working on plans to renovate the former school into 20 single family condos.

I first heard about the project just a few weeks ago, and was immediately intrigued.  I love anything and everything old, and I love it even more when it’s been repurposed into something new that works with today’s lifestyles.  We’ve done just that with our 100 year old farmhouse, and I’ve done it over and over with my upcycling projects.  Transforming an old school into new homes is the ultimate repurpose, in my opinion.

Great care was taken to preserve the character of the old school.  Woodwork was taken down carefully, refinished, and reinstalled.  New windows mimic the original style. Light fixtures in the hallways have period charm, and special details, like these water fountains, were left in tact.

2015-01-13 13_41_08

But the most amazing part of this renovation is that every unit is different and finished with custom details and antique pieces that are anything but builder-basic. 

roosevelt fireplaces

The day I visited, contractors were working on some finishing touches – antique built in cabinets and fireplaces were being installed and refinished in the remaining units.

2015_01_13_13_39_13(rev 0)

Some of the units are more modern, and others are more traditional.  Many feature exposed brick walls and all have LOTS of charm. (Next three photos courtesy RES-Development, Inc.)

Screenshot 2015-02-19 14.19.42

Screenshot 2015-02-19 14.20.17
Screenshot 2015-02-19 14.20.37

This weekend, February 20, 21 and 22, Roosevelt Reimagined is hosting an Open House, where anyone can tour the building and get a first hand look at the renovations. 

And, if you’re looking for a new home, there are still 6 units for sale!


To see more pictures of some of the finished units, visit Roosevelt Reimagined.
And here’s a gorgeous photo of a decorated condo in the Ames Tribune.

Shared at Funky Junk Interiors

Would you like to comment?

  1. Old buildings turned new are one of my favorite things. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Those condos are beautiful! My grandmother lives in a similar place in my hometown. The old elementary was turned into apartments for seniors citizens on fixed income. I will say, that her apartment isn't quite as modern or spacious as the ones you have shown here, but a lot of the charm of the school was left. Like the full wall-length chalkboard in her unit.

  3. This is awesome!! I'm an Iowa girl, a farmer's daughter in the Corydon area. I live in Missouri now, but Iowa will always be home. So excited to see the historic preservation of these old buildings. Our small town here in Missouri has one in need of renovating. I'm sure we have many thru out the USA in need of renovation.

  4. So amazing! I'm just loving some of those unique features they're addling.

  5. Ah! I would love to live in an old school or any other repurposed building for that matter!