The West Pullman Elementary School served as a Chicago Public School for over 120 years before being closed in 2013, along with 48 other CPS buildings. Located at 11917-11951 S. Parnell Ave in West Pullman, the block-long building will be adaptively reused as affordable senior and veterans housing. West Pullman Elementary was designated as a Chicago Landmark on April 18, 2018.
“It saves a very important building in the community. The city was concerned with what was going to happen to the building. We’re excited to turn the space into something productive and thriving. There’s a big need for senior housing and this project could fill an unmet need,” said developer Scott Henry from Celadon Holdings. (Freund, Curbed Chicago, 3/14/18)
West Pullman Elementary School was designed by highly regarded Chicago architect W. August Fielder in 1894. Fielder served as the first in-house architect for Chicago’s Board of Education. Fielder designed 58 new schools and dozens of additions during his appointment which lasted three years from 1893 to 1896.
Preservation Chicago applauds developer Scott Henry and Thad Garver from Celadon Holdings, A Safe Haven Foundation and the architect UrbanWorks for a great project. This is an excellent example of how adaptive reuse can reinvigorate historic structures. It also demonstrates how the inherent authenticity of historic structures can result in more interesting, unique, desirable, and ultimately successful finished projects than comparable new construction.