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From Schoolhouse to Apartments

Former elementary school
converted into livable space

Alternative use for 1950s
school building brings in renters

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

MILTON, Ky. (November 2011) – Having grown up in Milton, Ky., Lisa Hammock feels a strong connection to the small town. She has recently helped preserve a once vital part of the community, the Milton Elementary School.
Built in 1952, the former schoolhouse has been converted into apartments. for individuals 55 years of age and older. The company Hammock co-owns with her husband, Riverside Contracting and Excavation LLC, bought the building from the Trimble County School System at auction in fall 2009. Her husband, Tony Hammock, has more than 30 years experience in the construction industry.
The idea of turning it into apartments “seemed like a good fit,” she said. The building contains 14 one-bedroom apartments and four two-bed apartments.
The former school has been expanded twice in the past, with the addition of a gym and extra classrooms. The existing cafeteria and the gym are ready to rent for things like “parties, family reunions and basketball games. All we have to do is put heat in,” said Hammock.

Milton School

Photo by Don Ward

The former Milton Elementary School
building on Hwy. 421 in Milton, Ky.,
underwent a renovation last year into
new apartments for residents 55 and older.

A tremendous amount of work was put into renovating the building. “We tried to use a lot of locals for the work,” she said.
Each apartment contains a full kitchen, which includes a range, microwave and refrigerator. The walls are painted in a neutral pallet to go well with any style furniture, and the floors are ceramic with carpeting in some areas of the apartments. Each apartment contains a washer/dryer hookup and a spacious bathroom.
The Hammocks had to install new water and sewer systems, heating and cooling, and electrical wiring. “We had to insulate the walls, install new windows and all of the ceilings were dropped from 12 feet to nine feet. All duct work is in the ceiling,” she said.
There are still a few apartments available for rent. Renters must pay for electric and cable amenities, while Hammock pays for such things as sewer, water and garbage pickup. “It’s a very secure building,” she said, “with a good security system.”
The Architecture Studio Inc. in Indianapolis was responsible for designing the apartments, converting them from classrooms into functional living space. The firm specializes in affordable and market rate multifamily housing, and works with builders on designing, drafting, consulting and inspection on small and large commercial projects.
“There were very little major changes in terms of structural changes to the building,” said Carl David Toth, AIA and NCARB member and Principle Architect for The Architecture Studio Inc. “The trick was to create as many apartments as possible without adding additional square footage.”
The firm has conducted a similar project by renovating an “existing school building in Union City, Ind. It was a 1920s three-story elementary school, developed by a not-for-profit for senior housing,” said Toth.
The Architecture Studio Inc. also conducted a housing project and day-care facility in Madison several years ago for a not-for-profit. The firm was begun three years ago, but Toth has been in private practice for 35 years in various firms and partnerships.
Hammock has fond memories of the school building she is trying to preserve. Her mother, Louise Ginn, worked as the school secretary and librarian while Hammock was an elementary school student there.
Hammock has more than 13 years experience in the construction industry and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Kentucky. She currently owns and manages three different companies.
“We held an open house two months ago and people were surprised at how much the building had changed,” said Hammock.

• For more information on the Milton School Apartments, contact Lisa Hammock at (812) 599-2008.

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