At Wednesday's Fulton Rotary Club meeting, Victor Pasley spoke to members about the George Washington Carver School Cultural Center apartment project.
The project — in coordination with MACO Development Co., LLC — would allow the George Washington Carver Cultural Center board to renovate the school into 33 senior citizen apartments.
The Fulton City Council voted 7-0 at its meeting Tuesday night to authorize a resolution in support of a proposal to restore Carver School and convert it into apartments. Dan Sanders — a MACO representative — made a presentation on the proposed preservation and development.
The Carver School was built in 1937 and closed in 1982. The school was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
On a trip to Kansas City, Pasley stopped in Sedalia and saw the remake of the Lincoln-Hubbard Elementary School. It had been renovated and developed into an apartment complex. Pasley loved the idea so much he came back to the Carver board and told members this was the direction they needed to head in.
The board met with MACO in 2018 and the firm believed the Carver School was in much better shape than Lincoln-Hubbard, so plans for renovation moved forward.
The next step was to check into the tax credits that are needed in order to make changes to a historical site. That would include federal and Missouri historic tax credits, and to make it affordable living for senior citizens, federal and state low-income tax credits and federal and Missouri affordable housing tax credits would be necessary.
Those tax credits would help finance the construction of the project. Pasley has also talked with Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and the Fulton City Council.
The plan is to restore the Carver School to what it looked like in 1937. That means the same wood, windows and other materials will have to be utilized to keep it as authentic as possible, Pasley told Rotary members.
In the restored school, there will be nine apartment units with four being two-bedroom and the rest one-bedroom. Behind the school, new construction will take place to create the remaining 24 apartment units, which will all be two-bedroom.
The new building will be two levels and will include an elevator. The apartments will be standard size, equipped with a full kitchen and bathroom. The expected rent will be between $600 and $650 monthly, and between $320 and $370 monthly for residents with special needs.
As far as amenities go, the complex will feature a fitness room, computer room, a general dining area, a community kitchen and a museum space where memorabilia from the school over the years will be on display.
"Looking at Carver School now, it's just an eyesore sitting up there," Pasley said to Rotary members. "So we need to complete this project and renovate that and upgrade the entire neighborhood not only for that part of town, but it'll be a real asset to the city of Fulton."
MACO would own and manage the restored school and apartments, but still has to acquire funding for the project. If things go as planned, Pasley explained, construction could possibly start in the summer of 2022.
In the meantime, Pasley added that the Carver board is working on setting up donations for those who would like to help fund the project.