SIOUX CITY -- The company renovating Sioux City's former Everett Elementary into an apartment complex has been awarded more than $1.13 million in state historic tax credits to help finance the $11 million project.
Woodbine, Iowa-based Icon Development, which specializes in historic renovation projects, purchased the 131-year-old building at 1314 W. Third St. from the school district. The project, which also received over $688,000 in housing tax credits from the Iowa Finance Authority in March 2018, is scheduled to create 20 apartments.
Iowa's Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, provides a state income tax credit to projects that rehabilitate historic buildings. The program is designed to promote the retention of unique, character-defining buildings and building features that contribute to a community and neighborhood. Rehabilitation must meet the U.S. Secretary of the Interior standards.
The IEDA this week awarded a total of $29.2 million in tax credits to projects across the state. The Everett project was the only recipient in Sioux City.
The former Everett school was added to the National Register of Historic Places earlier this year as an example of how new educational philosophies guided the design and construction of public schools in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, according to the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.
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Built in 1888, the original two-story brick building was first known as the Davis Addition School, named for the subdivision in which it was built. The four-room structure cost $12,500.
The multiple-classroom design was driven by new educational philosophies that encouraged schools to group students into different grade levels based on their age – a relatively new idea in the age of one-room schoolhouses, according to the Department of Cultural Affairs. The school was designed to meet the city's growing student population, which mushroomed from about 1,700 to 6,000 pupils between 1884 and 1894.
The school board renamed the school "Everett" in February 1889 -- possibly after Edward Everett, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts who gave the main speech the day President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.
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The building underwent numerous upgrades as education evolved over the next 50 years, including additions in 1891 and 1917, interior and exterior upgrades in 1931, and the construction of a cafeteria/auditorium in 1940.
Everett remained the oldest continually operating school in Sioux City until it closed in 2016. It was used as an elementary school by the district from 1888 to 2011 and reopened the following year as an alternative school, housing the district’s alternative suspension program.
It's one of several former schools that developers purchased to convert into housing in recent years. The list includes the former Central High School, 610 13th St., the former Joy Elementary, 3409 Indiana Ave., and the former Whittier Elementary, 4820 Fourth Ave.