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Construction on schedule at old Maury School
By EMILY BATTLE
It's taken a Richmond contractor just two months to breathe a little life into a landmark Fredericksburg building that was an empty, decaying shell for 25 years.
Since starting work at the end of October, the Trent Corp. is well on its way toward transforming the old Maury school into 32 residential condominiums, set to open in June or July of 2007.
For years, the historic city school at the end of George Street was an empty space that attracted vandals and critters.
Now, construction workers stream in and out every day, and every night, spotlights illuminate what's being built on the inside.
Right now, that would be the framing for what will be the walls, doors and closets of the condos. In the old cafeteria, which is in the bottom of the 1936 annex on the school, workers are digging through the original concrete slab to install plumbing that will feed the kitchens and bathrooms of the residents-to-be.
Trent is working with development firm Echelon Resources, Commonwealth Architects and construction management firm Pareto LLC on the project.
The group took ownership of the building Oct. 20, after responding to a request for proposals the city put out a year ago to end the years of uncertainty over what would become of the building.
Trent started working in the newer portion of the building, the part closest to William Street, and is working its way back toward the older section, built in 1919.
Soon, the team will start preparing the former auditorium for its transformation into five condos.
The auditorium was one of the most challenging parts of the renovation to design, Echelon President Edwin Gaskin said.
It meant turning a huge open space into individual units, all while working within the standards dictated by the state Department of Historic Resources, whose historic rehabilitation tax credits are a crucial part of the financing for the $7.5 million project.
The old stage, for example, will stay intact, and will be part of the biggest unit in the building.
Under the auditorium, in the former gymnasium, the city is working with the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center to design a space that would include a public meeting room able to handle up to 75 people and office space for the Heritage Center.