From High School to Lofts

[Photo 1:  Exterior view of building]
Built in 1914, the Gothic Revival building was the Hot Springs High School.
[Photo 2:  Interior view of apartment]
These loft apartments help the disabled live independently.
[Photo 3:  Officials chatting]
Little Rock HUD Director Bessie Jackson (left) chats with Steve Hitt, CEO, and Cynthia Stone, Assistant Executive Director, of the ARC of Arkansas.
Hot Springs, Arkansas, is known, among other things, as a home of former President Bill Clinton.

The Hot Springs High School building that was in use when the former president was a student had stood vacant in the community for many years. Built in 1914, the Gothic Revival building was considered an important historical landmark worthy of preserving. Unfortunately, the building had very limited options for productive reuse.

Enter the ARC of Arkansas, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Little Rock that had made extensive use of historic buildings in the Central Arkansas area by converting them to loft apartments to provide independent living units for handicapped persons. ARC acquired the former high school building and was able to put together a financing package to create 32 apartments in the structure.

The $4.2 million project included $100,000 in CDBG funds from the City of Hot Springs and $400,000 in State HOME funds provided by the Arkansas Development Finance Authority. The dedication of the Hot Springs High School Lofts was held on January 19, 2006.

The completion of the project was a dream come true for many community leaders who had striven to preserve and renovate the historic structure that still evokes a host of memories for the many who had once frequented its halls. "The Lofts project took nearly a year, incorporating the very best in adaptive reuse principles and construction techniques," said Nelson Self, CDBG Administrator for the City of Hot Springs. "This multi-partner endeavor features ADA-compliant Universal Design principles that afford physically challenged occupants the maximum amount of accessibility and livability."

[Photo 4:  Officials dedicate the building]
The dedication of the Hot Springs High School Lofts was held on January 19, 2006.


According to Steven Hitt, Chief Executive Officer of the ARC, this project would not have been possible were it not for a layering of project funding. Most of the new apartments had already been leased to tenants indicating a high demand for the units.

The HUD Field Office in Arkansas is very proud to have played a role in helping to preserve this historic Arkansas structure and is particularly proud that its reuse will provide housing for lower income, disabled citizens of the state.

Content Archived: July 14, 2011