School building conversion to apartments
This project was a $9.5 million renovation of the original Old Main and classroom buildings of Albuquerque High. Located in the heart of downtown Albuquerque, the buildings were converted to 70 loft apartments, transforming the space into a multi-use, residential urban community. After sitting abandoned for 30 years, Richardson & Richardson was thrilled to breathe new life into this historical space.
Each classroom was converted into a single loft apartment, leaving original walls, chalkboards, hardwood floors and ceilings whenever possible. The addition of modern kitchens and operable high-rise windows, as well as offering unique views of downtown Albuquerque modernized these apartments while maintaining their history. Original hallways and classroom doors were also refurbished. Energy efficient sprinkler and fire suppression systems were installed, which also provided water used for each loft’s heating and cooling units. Given the building’s rich history, no two units are alike.
A considerable challenge was converting the original administrative offices, classrooms, and auditorium space into individual living quarters, while maintaining the building’s architectural character of the building. To qualify for historical credits, all existing wooden windows were renovated, rather than removed. Damaged concrete copings and rotting overhead beams were restored in place. We also constructed a four-story steel-framed building within the existing auditorium, lowering materials and equipment through an eight-by-eight-foot opening in the roof. This extensive restoration, focused on maintaining the building original history and integrity, earned us an Associated General Contractors Best Building Award in 2003.