In 2015, Cripe began working with Near East Area Renewal (NEAR) in partnership with TWG studying the redevelopment of Minnie Hartmann/School 78.

The existing buildings were completely rehabbed including masonry repair, extensive site redevelopment with storm water capture, new interior finishes, new windows, plumbing systems, electrical infrastructure and lighting.  A charming rain forest mural at the western end of the 1929 building’s main corridor was preserved in homage to the school.  There were opportunities to salvage and reuse existing finishes, particularly the classroom maple floors in the 1929 building.  The completed project provides 64 units of affordable senior adult housing and is completely accessible to the disabled on all levels.  This is no mean feat given that the only floor in the structure that is continuous is the main level proper.

An 11,000 square foot day care will be built in 2020 creating an early learning center for approximately 120 children.  The result will be an intergenerational facility with programs engaging children and seniors under one roof, the first of its kind in Indiana.  The Institute for Family Studies notes: “Should seniors and toddlers go to day care together? It’s a strange sounding question, but a growing number of day care  facilities around the country say yes. And an emerging body of research suggests that doing so is good for both the young and old.” 

Historic Sensitivity

The existing building consists of the 1929 school and two additions, an addition on the east in the 1950s and on the west in the 1960s.  New construction was added on the north creating a “U” shaped plan.  The new building includes brick veneer and cast stone accents at the first story in response to the original building’s brick and stone.  The second and third floors of the new building use durable fiber cement siding in warm tones to complement the existing masonry.

Environmental Responsibility

It has been said that the greenest building is the one that already exists—a comment that is especially true when the design of the renovations prioritizes energy efficiency and green features.

Minnie Hartmann Center has received a National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Emerald rating with several features deserving mention.  First, a sunken courtyard contains seating, a walking path and a central planted area using native plants, shrubs and flowers.  This courtyard collects all site storm water, which is routed into a dry well beneath the plantings.  The building is energy efficient with high performance windows and continuous spray foam at interior walls.  The roof was replaced with supplemental insulation on the 1929 and 1950s building and repaired on the 1960s building.  In addition, in the 1929 building, all existing hardwood floors were left in place, repaired and reused.  Water efficient fixtures are used throughout along with LED lighting.

The transformation of Minnie Hartmann School into the Minnie Hartmann Center is the first significant new construction in this part of the city in decades.  The Owner hopes the result will be a catalyst for revitalization of a blighted neighborhood.

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