The Daily Iberian – A nearly $14 million renovation project has been started at the School Days Apartments complex in New Iberia.
HRI Communities, which owns the facility, announced Monday in a prepared statement that the project includes renovation of the 65 existing one-bedroom units, all of which are designated for seniors ages 55 or older and have affordability restrictions.
Design-build firm Impetus (formerly Palmisano) will lead construction on the complex. Financing partners for the project include the newly merged First Horizon Bank and IberiaBank. Public partners include the Louisiana Housing Corporation, which awarded the project 9 percent low-income housing tax credits and assigned an existing loan to facilitate the preservation of much needed affordable housing for seniors.
“HRI Communities is honored to have acquired the historic New Iberia High in 1994, which we converted to what is now known as the School Days Apartments,” HRI Communities President Josh Collen said. “It is a privilege to be able to immediately begin renovations which include comprehensive upgrades to the apartments and common areas, which will make the entire property resilient and sustainable for decades to come. Current and future residents of the apartments will be thrilled with the improvements we have planned for their homes.”
The three-story Classical Revival building, built in 1926 served as a high school until 1966 and then as a middle school until it closed in 1990. HRI redeveloped the former New Iberia High building into 65 affordable, senior apartments and community facilities. The original adaptive re-use project was completed in 1995.
HRI Communities said it will substantially renovate the existing apartments including expanding the program/amenity space into the historic auditorium that has been vacant since the original conversion nearly 27 years ago. Focused on mitigating the effects of aging, the planned renovation scope provides for a comprehensive restoration of the building’s exterior envelope, including critical weatherproofing enhancements.
The School Days renovation will also provide for modern efficiency and comfort for its residents with a complete replacement of building systems and finishes including new installations of all HVAC systems, water heaters, electric fixtures, plumbing fixtures, kitchen and bathroom cabinets/countertops, appliances and laundry equipment. Additional community features in the rehabilitation scope include a new courtyard/picnic area, a new community room in the historic auditorium and a new ADA ramp at the main entrance
HRI said all of the improvements will adhere to the Enterprise Green Communities best practices for energy efficiency and sustainability including the use of only Energy Star appliances/electric fixtures, upgraded insulation, and water conserving plumbing fixtures. Additionally, the entirety of School Days’ rehabilitation scope adheres to the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Preservation, thus guaranteeing the appropriate treatment and respect of the National Register building’s historical significance.
HRI Communities, an affiliate of HRI Properties LLC, is “dedicated to developing high quality, mixed-income and affordable housing that revitalizes neighborhoods.” HRI Properties is an owner, operator and developer of premium branded hotels and upscale apartments.
Since 1982, HRIP and its predecessor have completed more than 95 projects involving more than $3 billion of total invested capital, which include over 6,900 apartment units, over 7,300 hotel rooms, and more than 1.4 million square feet of office and retail space.