PRINEVILLE, OR -- A school built in Prineville in 1947 is now the region's newest affordable housing community. Keith Wooden, with Housing Works, says repurposing an historic school had its challenges. But, he believes it was worth it, "It’s not just the 29 units, which are really cool. You have all these other things that are surrounding, and you just don’t get this in new construction." NeighborImpact has a Head Start classroom in the school’s old cafeteria, Crook County Parks and Rec is leasing the gymnasium and the outdoor fields have new life, as well, "We have a park on one spot and we have another lot that’s going to house the Heart of Oregon Youth Build program, and their office," Wooden tells KBND News, "And then, the other part of that lot is going to be kind of an orchard [or] garden for the food bank that’s run by Neighbor Impact, as well."
Housing Works to Buy Ochoco Elementary (02/15/16)
Wooden says residents were obviously excited to move in to those 29 studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments, which used to be classrooms, "The whole property was full of people, almost within the first two days. And, the last person moved in, I think, on Monday the 15th. So, we had all 29 units occupied within seven days of when we could release units to the public. Normally, 29 units, it would take at least a month."
Former teachers and staff have toured the new facility, and Wooden says they were impressed with what was preserved and what was updated, "This property could’ve been demolished; and they get this historic kind of piece and it’s preserved. And, we were pretty creative with it – keeping the hallways but laying out the classrooms, putting 4’ orange unit numbers and kind of more modern stuff in there. But, preserving a lot of the school elements too."
Housing Works will host a grand opening at Ochoco School Crossing (440 NW Madras Highway), Monday at 2 p.m.