First Ward School Apartments Wins National “Timmy” Award

September 20, 2013

First Ward School Apartments Wins National “Timmy” Award

The National Housing & Rehabilitation Association has selected an Omni project for the 2013 J. Timothy Anderson Awards for Excellence in Historic Rehabilitation. Fondly referred to as “The Timmys,” the awards honor outstanding rehabilitation and preservation projects based on several criteria, including overall design and quality, interpretation and respect of historic elements, and market success. * First Ward School Apartments in Elkins, West Virginia won the award for “Best Historic Rehab Utilizing LIHTCs – Small (Under $5 Million Development Costs).”

With the recent success of, Riverview at Clendenin School, Omni Associates – Architects was again chosen by developer AU Associates to bring the Elkins First Ward School restoration and adaptive reuse project to fruition. With the help of AU, the project received funding from the West Virginia Housing and Development Fund in the fall of 2011. Ground broke in August 2012 to begin the renovation for 16 affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments.  The exterior was completely restored to its early 1900s Georgian-Revival style, and many of the key interior features reminiscent of the school days have been retained and preserved.

Placed in service in July 2013, this $3.7 million development involved the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of a three-story building constructed in 1908 that was used for nearly 70 years as a public school before closing in 1976. The red brick structure was then used for more than three decades primarily for storage for the county school board. The board transferred the vacant and deteriorated building to a local civic group (C-HOPE), which obtained a grant to repair the roof and stabilize the structure with a deadline to rehabilitate the building for community use within five years. Following the renovation, the property was turned over to the ultimate owner, Highland Community Builders, a local nonprofit. Funding sources for the project included equity generated by federal housing and federal and state historic tax credits (syndicated by Community Affordable Housing Equity Corporation), general partner equity, and a first mortgage from C-HOPE.*