In The News > Gravier Schoolhouse

Gravier St Schoolhouse


2228 Gravier Street
New Orleans, LA
Institutional Restoration/Rehabilitation

L+M Development; Rome Office Architects; Spackman Mossop Michaels; Howell Consultants; Jolly Consultants; PACE Group; Fricker Historic Preservation Services; LO Specs; CDW Services; Neil Alexander

Constructed in 1894, most likely according to the design of architect William Freret, McDonogh Number 30 served as the primary school for its Third Ward neighborhood until the late 1930s, and then several decades as city offices and a police training division. In 1953, the building reopened as a school until closing in 1976 and sitting vacant for a decade. In the late 1980s New Orleans’ first African American radio station (WYLD) purchased the school and converted it into offices and a recording studio. A vibrant confection of late Victorian eclectic architectural motifs, the imposing institutional structure remained a neighborhood landmark. Over the years, however, historic features—porch, turrets, parapets, ornamental frieze—disappeared piece-by-piece. This honored project has restored this significant building to its prominence in the street scape while re-purposing it for residential use.

In undertaking this project, the dauntless team did extensive research to document the history of the building and recapture its late nineteenth-century appearance in order to correctly replicate its picturesque exterior elements. The interior schoolhouse plan, including the classrooms, central corridors and grand staircase, was retained.  The classrooms were transformed into twelve, one-bedroom apartments by placing an innovative “Box for Living” in the center of each space. Rather than building a new seven-story structure as allowed by zoning regulations, the developers opted to restore the architecturally and culturally significant property, while taking advantage of the benefits offered through state and federal tax credits and the Preservation Resource Center’s Façade Easement Program.

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