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How do you repurpose an old school into an awesome community asset and local attraction? Check out Ivywild

The Ivywild elementary school in Colorado Springs, Colorado was built in 1916 and, when it closed in 2009, the neighborhood was fairly downtrodden.

Then the magic happened.  Thanks to the visionaries: Joe Coleman and Mike Bristol (and architect Jim Fennell).

Three years of construction and about $5 million later, it has now reopened as a multi-use facility that combines commerce and community. It’s home to a micro-brewery and pub, artisan bakery, organic/regional charcuterie, organic market with chemical-free food from area farmers, an espresso/cocktail bar.  It hosts conferences, gatherings and concerts. All while retaining elements of the old school’s look and feel.  The bar, for example, is called “The Principal’s Office” and was located on the same spot. The gymnasium (now one of the main rooms for large gatherings) still has the climbing ropes hanging from the ceiling.  There’s even a new school opening on site that offers special courses to adults, children, youth-at-risk, home-schooled students on a variety of topics.

Take a look at some of the photos and you can see the genius behind the renovation.  And have a look at their website.

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One Response to How do you repurpose an old school into an awesome community asset and local attraction? Check out Ivywild

  1. DJBryanW January 22, 2014 at 6:12 am #

    I have been lucky enough to experience this amazing building both as a school when my daughter attended it in the 90′s and as the transformation it has become. It was a really cool school, being so old and architecturally quite different than schools built after the 50′s, the enormity of the place was great, but like so many old buildings it had it’s issues. Heating and cooling were a constant problem, age had caused typical problems with electricity, plumbing and even flooring. The transformation updated those necessary things while still keeping a wonderful literally ‘old school’ feel. It was weird walking in for the first time and being taken back to my daughter’s first day of 2nd grade there, nearly 20 years earlier. I can only imagine those who may have attended the school in past decades returning to see the place in it’s new light. Curiously, many in our fair city have criticized the place because schools shouldn’t be changed into establishments serving alcohol (I guess empty decaying buildings are somehow better) but regardless, it’s simply brilliant.

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