A grand opening and ribbon-cutting at Nelsonville School

Commons is set for March 2, 2018, at 10 AM. The event will celebrate the historic renovation of a beloved early 1900s school to create 33 affordable rental homes for workforce families and seniors in Nelsonville, OH.

The Woda Group, Inc., a leading affordable housing firm based in Columbus, worked with the Nelsonville High School Restoration Foundation and the Hocking Athens Perry Community Action Program to transform the partially-condemned property into a modern and amenity-rich affordable apartment complex.

The redevelopment of Nelsonville School Commons skillfully restored and renovated two buildings into one cohesive facility that offers tasteful, high-quality finishes, open living space design and handicapped accessibility. One of the school buildings dates back to 1907 and was most recently used as a junior high school before being closed in the 1980s. Its architectural features reflect Classical Revival and Germanic Rundbogenstil design.

The adjoining Classical Revival building was built in 1924 and was initially used as a high school and later a junior high before being closed in 1993. Noted architect William Mills, who immigrated to Nelsonville from England and maintained a highly regarded, regional practice during the first half of the 20th century, designed the 1924 building. The site was later used as a gymnastics studio and home to the Nelsonville High School Restoration Foundation archives, but had fallen into disrepair and was long under threat of demolition. In 2015, the 1907 building was condemned by the City of Nelsonville.

Working with historic architects at City Architecture, Cleveland, Ohio, The Woda Group, Inc,

incorporated decorative tin ceilings, original chalkboards, decorative millwork and built-in classroom closets in many of the closets. The original floors have been refinished and used where possible, and new historically-accurate windows were installed throughout the building. New plumbing and electrical systems were also installed. The restoration also incorporated fire sprinkler systems and an elevator – two crucial life safety and accessibility items the school gravely lacked during its years serving educational purposes. The new apartments and common spaces are consistent with universal design and built with utility-saving green architectural features. The school’s original auditorium was repurposed into a large community room with kitchenette, property management office and a fitness center.

Nelsonville School Commons is geared for residents who earn 60% of the area median income, says McCabe. The $9.6 million development is partly funded through highly competitive Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA); Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives through the National Park Service; and competitive housing tax credits made available through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA). The Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) serves as investor in the project, providing equity in exchange for tax credits. A bridge loan was made available through OHFA’s Home Development Loan Program. Construction and permanent financing was obtained through Summit Community Bank (Moorefield, West Virginia).

The March 2 event will begin at 10 AM with remarks from community leaders, elected officials and representatives of supporting organizations and the developer. A ribbon-cutting, tours and a reception will follow.

The Woda Group, Inc. and its affiliates are experienced developers, general contractors, and property managers specializing in the design, construction, and  management of affordable multi-family apartments, senior communities, and single-family homes. Considered leading experts in the affordable housing industry, the Woda team is known for producing and maintaining high quality affordable housing.  Affordable Housing Finance Magazine has ranked The Woda Group, Inc. 9th overall among Affordable Housing Developers and 22nd overall among Affordable Housing Owners in their April/May 2017 issue. The Woda Group, Inc. has developed and currently manages over 300 communities and over 12,000 units.