Plans for schools emerge

Developers spelled out the steps necessary to convert Iola's three old elementary schools into available apartment units. Community buy-in is an essential part of the process, they said.

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Local News

March 1, 2022 - 10:05 AM

Joe Keal, left, and James Baker with BNIM, an architecture firm based in Kansas City, Mo., talk about their company’s plans to convert three elementary school buildings into housing. Photo by Vickie Moss / Register

There’s some risk involved in converting three elementary schools into housing — but there’s also the possibility of huge rewards in delivering more than 60 new units of housing and saving three historic buildings that have been critical to educating the community for decades.

First, developers will need all three buildings added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Then, they’ll need to wade through a competitive process to secure low-income housing tax credits. 

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