Claflin school almost finished with renovation into apartment homes

Claflin school almost finished with renovation into apartment homes

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - News Leader 9 is bringing you a sneak peak into new apartment homes in Columbus with a unique and vital history with an original structure dating back more than 150 years.

This project is almost done and the inside changed drastically since it was last used. At one point, you could see weeds inside the classrooms, but now the original hardwood floors are back and the natural lighting is just amazing.

“Claflin was established in 1868," Rev. Richard Jessie said.

Reverend Richard Jessie and the friends of Historic Claflin are anxiously awaiting for this renovation project to be complete. Originally a school for African-Americans, the school will now be affordable apartment homes for Columbus families.

“We’ve pledged to keep everything we can keep," architect Mark Wright said. "We’ve kept the historic windows. We’ve kept historic doors. We’re going to put the tile back in the existing two-story building to match the original.”

In 2018, weeds, graffiti, asbestos and lead-based paint show the degree of destruction inside the Claflin School.

Now, original windows shed light into living rooms and remnants of chalkboards keep the history of this building fresh.

“Our history is important," Jessie said, "and we want people to understand the rich history and heritage of Claflin School.”

Keeping historic lighting, original hardwood floors and two beautiful Magnolia trees are simple reminders.

“So you still get the look and feel of the original school but at the same time you’re going to have modern living inside,” Wright.

There are 44 units that are leasing now.

“There’s probably 35 different unit types out of 44,” Wright said.

The keys are hanging, waiting to be handed over to families.

“Most folks still want the American dream of having their own place," Wright said, "so we believe Claflin will help those families to be able to realize the American dream.”

“And we have a little bit of work left to do but we’re in the home stretch and we’re going to wrap it up," Wright said.

Wright also says he kept the project local by using mainly local contractors and suppliers to get this project to where it is today.

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