Roland E. Cook Lofts now leasing

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Renovations to the former Roland E. Cook Elementary School in Vinton are progressing. The developers, Old School Partners, LLC, are hoping that construction will be complete in May.

Old School Partners is a local team which formed just for this project and includes architect David Hill of Hill Studio, developer Dale Wilkinson, builder Greg Rhodes, and attorney David Spigle.

“Now Leasing” signs went up on the property just last week. Although the new entrance to the building will be on Jefferson Avenue, tenants will have a Poplar Street address.

Despite recent inclement weather, construction crews continue to work on installing plumbing, electricity, and HVAC units for 21 upscale apartments.

Ceilings have been raised on the third floor to allow for the construction of loft apartments.

Apartments are being framed up with lofts being built in the third-floor apartments where the ceilings have also been raised significantly. The second floor has standard apartments; the basement floor has patio apartments. Each unit has its own laundry, bathroom, and dining and living area. Most bathrooms are equipped with tubs. Each apartment has its own HVAC unit located in the ceiling. The building is also equipped with a sprinkler system.

New windows are being installed throughout the building. The windows were replaced in the 1970s and the 14 -oot ceilings lowered— a process which is now being reversed.

The National Park Service has officially listed the Roland E. Cook building on the National Register of Historic Places following a lengthy review and approval process. That designation allows the developers to utilize tax credits to redevelop the property.

Original arches have been preserved in the doorways of the classrooms along with preservation of the original chalkboards, which will be mounted on some of the interior walls. Original hardwood floors are being maintained as well.

An elevator is being installed in the former gymnasium space.

The auditorium/gymnasium is being preserved to meet historic standards with apartments behind the stage and will become a multipurpose room; a portion of the stage will be used for the elevator, which is now being installed.

Needless to say, the views of Vinton and the valley are spectacular.

The cornerstone indicates the building is over 100 years old, built in 1915. It served the town as a high school until 1933 and then as an elementary school until 1999. The building, originally owned by Roanoke County Schools, was returned to county ownership in 2013. The building occupies around 17, 642 square feet and sits on about an acre of land.

The contact number for those interested in leasing one of the apartments is 540-293-0875 or online at www.rolandschool.net.

Visit The Vinton Messenger Facebook page for more renovation photos.