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Historic preservation and low-income housing tax credits are a big incentive to redevelop. Drive through just about any rural community and you are likely to find a former school which is now something else. Mostly, these have been converted to apartments or condominiums; even "one-room" schoolhouses are serving as single-family residences. I know of a shuttered school in Michigan that would make an incredible inn and restaurant. Anyone interested in investing?
The Locke School in Lexington Mass was built in the mid 1800's, converted into condos in 1990-91. The aprtments keep several of the interior amenities like wide pine flooring, oak panelling and brass fixtures.
in Colorado, many historic schools remain in use as community centers, museums/cultural centers, city offices, and alternative education sites. If you want more information, you might contact the Colorado Historical Society, Office of Archaeology & Hist Pres, State Historical Fund
In Ithaca, NY there are a couple of examples. The biggest one would be the Dewitt Mall, built in the former high school, which has been converted into retail spaces on the level just below street, including the well known Moosewood restaurant, and office spaces on the upper floor.
Also, in one of the schools built in the late 50's, a manufacturing company has taken it over.
A ball park. Just kidding. Well thats what happened to three of our most historic and beautiful schools in my hometown of Holyoke, MA It seemed no one in city government had the vision or the want to reuse these perfectly sound structures. Their solution, if its vacant tear it down. Yes along with 154 other historic buildings over the last five years.