By Kevin Collison
The historic Norman School, a prominent stone landmark that overlooks Southwest Trafficway as it approaches downtown, has reopened as a 61-unit apartment project following a $14 million renovation.
The school started as a two-room wood building in 1901 and was named after the school board president at the time, Joseph Norman. In 1906, the current limestone structure was built in the Jacobethan Revival style and was later expanded in 1910.
It served generations of Kansas City students before it was closed by the school district in 2006. Del Hedgepath of Del Properties purchased the old property in 2009. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“Saving the historic structure was a challenge,” Hedgepath said. “There was asbestos, mold and vagrants. The state and federal historic tax credits were essential.
“We used all local contractor and a larger percentage of minority contractors than required. I believe it will be sound for another 60 years before the next major rehab is needed.”
Many of the features of the old school at 3514 Jefferson St. were retained in the new project, which is called Norman School Lofts. The wide hallways, old doors and in some instances, chalkboards in the units, add a special feel to the development.
Del Properties also built an addition with 20 units on the north side of the historic structure, designing it to include balconies that closely resemble the neighboring apartment buildings on Jefferson Street.
One new amenity those kids would have appreciated in the pre-air conditioning days is a swimming pool and hot tub located in front of the building.
There’s also a pet-washing station inside the building for residents. All units have granite kitchen and bathroom counters.
The development has 11, two-bedroom apartments and 50 one-bedrooms. Monthly rents range from $1,100 for a one-bedroom up to $2,200 for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit with a balcony.
The architect was NSPJ Architects and the contractor was HarenLaughlin.
The developed opened for residents last spring and is 75 percent occupied.
Del Properties also recently completed the Congress Lofts at 3535 Broadway. That 53-unit development cost $10 million to complete.
Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.