By Andréa Bachman | ​​Alamosa Historic Preservation Advisory Committee

MANY towns and cities across the United States are facing the same issue: a lack of available and affordable housing. With rising construction costs and less available vacant land, developers are turning to adaptive reuse as a creative solution to provide new housing. Adaptive reuse, in architecture, is the process of taking an old or uninhabited building and repurposing it for a different use. Colorado Preservation cites the Salida Steam Plant as a good example of adaptive reuse. Built in 1887, The Steam Plant was originally designed as a steam power plant, powering the lights of Salida. But in 1963, the building was retired as a power plant and has since been turned into apopular theater and event center. Although not a housing project, through adaptive reuse, the Steam Plant building was preserved and is now used and appreciated by the community once again.

Rendering of new gym

Currently, the school building sits vacant; Melgares wants to “give it new life and purpose.” As a part of this project, the Housing Coalition also plans to build up to 29 new housing units on the property, between the school and community garden. The Coalition intends to look to the surrounding neighborhood for common architectural details and materials and incorporate these into the new housing designs. Melgares says it is important to the Housing Coalition to “preserve the character of the neighborhood” with this project and she wants the community to know the Housing Coalition “is listening. We are growing in ways that the community wants to grow.”

The Alamosa Historic Preservation Board is excited about this adaptive reuse project, as it will preserve the historic Boyd School Building and we hope pave the way for future projects of its kind.

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