Prineville Elementary School Transformed to Housing


(Rendering | Courtesy of Pinnacle Architecture)

When an elementary school closed in Prineville after seven decades, an opportunity presented itself. Housing Works, Central Oregon’s regional housing authority, began planning to transform the school into Ochoco School Crossing, an apartment community for individuals and families who earn at or below fifty percent of the area’s median income. With a vacancy rate near zero, the community needs affordable housing.

“Schools provide an excellent structure to adapt to housing. Classrooms with their wide spans and large windows easily convert into individual apartments,” said Peter Baer, president and principal architect at Pinnacle Architecture.

The current building includes 23 classrooms, library, and gym. The transformation creates 29 apartments including studios, one, two, and three bedrooms. The old boiler and storage room will become a community room for the residents. Crook County Parks and Recreation District will utilize the gym for a community rec center. Additionally, NeighborImpact is changing an adjacent building, previously the school cafeteria, into a Head Start for early education.

“This is one of the coolest developments we’ve ever undertaken. The preservation of a school structure that has such rich history in this town and converting it to multifamily housing is such a great story!” said Housing Works’ Director of Real Estate Keith Wooden.

The interior design will be comfortable and durable. Each of the 29 apartments has dual entrances — one into the wide hallway and one to outdoor patios. A portion of the 29 apartments will be reserved for veterans, disabled individuals, and survivors of domestic abuse.

Funding for the development is made possible through an award of federal low-income housing tax credits provided by Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS). Construction will begin this summer and is estimated at twelve months. Preleasing will begin in spring of 2018 through EPIC Property Management.

Founded in 1990, Pinnacle Architecture Enhances Lives and Communities by providing planning, architecture and interior design services for healthcare, senior living, education and social service projects. Current projects include: Lakeview Gardens Senior Living, Rio Vista Affordable Housing in Nyssa, Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness in Enterprise and Ochoco School Crossing in Prineville., 541-388-9897

Housing Works is the largest affordable housing provider in Central Oregon. It provides people with quality, safe and affordable homes; and through a number of collaborations, it provides the resources to help people stabilize their lives. Housing Works developments in Bend, Redmond, Prineville, Madras and Sisters have won awards for innovation, economic impact, design and beautification.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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