Two Baldwin City buildings placed on historic list
Two former Chapel Street buildings important in Baldwin City’s educational history have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Kansas State Historical Society announced Friday the two-and-a-half story red brick school building in the 700 block of Chapel Street and the limestone gymnasium to its west had been placed on the register.
According to a Kansas Historical Society’s press release, Kansas City-based architect Charles A. Smith designed the school, which opened in 1923. It hosted both elementary and high school classes until a new high school was built in 1969.
The South Gym was a Works Progress Administration project competed in 1942. The classical revival structure was designed by Topeka-based architect Thomas W. Williamson.
The nomination application to place both buildings on the list were filed in August 2014 by Lawrence architect Stan Hemly of Hemly Associates Inc., and list the owner of the buildings as Krsnich Investment Group LLC.
Tony Krsnich bought both buildings from the Baldwin school district in September 2013 for $90,000. In March, the Baldwin City Council approved a request from Flint Hills Holding to rezone the old school for multifamily housing.
Flint Hills Vice President Tom Larkin said during a public hearing on the rezoning that the plan was to convert the old school into 20 one-bedroom units, eight two-bedroom units, two three-bedroom units and an office. Larkin said there would be an elevator installed in the old school, as well as other modifications to make it ADA compliant.
Larkin also said Flint Hills Holding intended to apply for historical preservation and low-income housing tax credits to help finance the $5.3 million conversion of the school. The use of low-income housing tax credits also requires a percentage of the apartments be designated “affordable.” Larkin said 75 percent of the old school’s apartments would be so designated and the remaining would be rented at market rates.
With the historic preservation tax credits, the exterior of the building would be little changed, Larkin said. The interior would be modified but hallways and “the core” would be preserved, he said
Larkin said during the rezoning there were no current plans for the South Gym. Its zoning remains unchanged from the time of the sale.
Neither Krsnich nor Larkin responded to requests from the Signal about the status of the tax credit applications or what the historical would mean for the applications.
The two buildings join 18 other buildings or sites in or near Baldwin City on the historic register. Those are Barnes Apple Barn, 714 East 1728 Road; Black Jack Battle Field; Baker University’s Case Library; Clearfield School, 2162 North 600 Road; Coal Creek Library, Vinland; Baker’s Old Castle Museum; the storefront at 602 High St.; Baker’s Parmenter Hall; the William Quayle house, 220 N. Sixth St.; Robert Hall Pearson Farm, 163 East 2000 Road; Santa Fe Depot, 1601 High St.; Santa Fe Trail ruts; Stoebener Barn; Stony Point Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1575 North 600 Road; DAR Market and Trail Park, intersection of East 1700 Road and North 400 Road, Vinland Fair Barn, Vinland Grange Hall and Vinland Presbyterian Church.