Historic Wilkesboro, NC School Offers Sustainable, Affordable Housing for Low-income Seniors
Built in 1937 as a Works Progress Administration project, the Wilkesboro, North Carolina Elementary School, known as the Historic Wilkesboro School, was recently transformed into an affordable housing community for low-income seniors. Utilizing HUD funding in the amount of $350,000, the Northwest Regional Housing Authority (NRHA) spearheaded the design and restoration of the old school building to provide a sustainable, walkable community of 41 one- and two-bedroom units for low-income seniors. The cost of developing this property totaled $7.4 million; the NRHA maintains its affordability by utilizing Section 8 housing choice vouchers to ensure that residents do not pay more than 30% of the adjusted family income for rent.
"The Historic Wilkesboro School is a model for sustainable development because it integrates green building practices with affordable housing and social stewardship" said Curt Davis, Greensboro, NC Field Office Director. "It is a signature project that exemplifies HUD's mission of providing inclusive, sustainable communities and quality, affordable homes for all."
Designed with sustainability in mind, the property was constructed with building products that include metal roofing with reflective finishes to minimize solar gain, as well as low-emission paints/finishes to ensure healthy indoor air quality. With the installation of Energy Star-rated light fixtures, energy- and water-efficient plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems, and Energy Star-rated appliances, the construction meets Energy Star Version 2 standards.
The reconfigured property offers amenities that include common spaces for residents and for community use, a community meeting room, a craft room, small library, office space, and laundry facilities. Because of its proximity to downtown Wilkesboro, residents can walk to the post office, restaurants and other downtown businesses.