Written by Jim Lindberg
Last week, National Trust for Historic Preservation President Stephanie Meeks announced that the National Trust will accept the donation of an 1885 school building in Denver’s historic Capitol Hill neighborhood. The Emerson School, a designated Denver landmark also known as the Frank B. McGlone Center, will become the new headquarters for the National Trust's Mountains/Plains Office and two of our preservation partners in Colorado: Historic Denver, Inc. and Colorado Preservation, Inc.
Over the coming months, the Mountains/Plains Office will undertake a $2.3 million rehabilitation of the school, with a particular focus on making the building a model for how older structures can meet – or exceed – the highest standards for energy efficiency and environmental design. It will also be a model for environmental stewardship of National Trust-owned properties.
Stephanie Meeks shared this vision at a press conference held last Thursday, August 19, at the school. Regional Director Barb Pahl joined Stephanie to make the announcement, along with Denver Mayor (and Democratic gubernatorial nominee) John Hickenlooper, State Representative Pat Steadman, Denver Councilwoman Jeanne Robb, History Colorado President Ed Nichols, and State Historical Fund Director Steve Turner.
From a stage in the second floor lecture hall at the Emerson School, Stephanie thanked the board of directors of Capitol Hill Senior Resources, Inc. for their generous donation of the school to the National Trust. In addition, she announced that a former Capitol Hill Senior Resources board member, Joan Garrett, donated a $1.5 million endowment to the National Trust to provide for the long-term maintenance of the school.
The press conference concluded with a big boost for the rehabilitation plan, when History Colorado President Ed Nichols presented Stephanie and the National Trust with a certificate announcing a $500,000 grant to the project from the State Historical Fund. This was one of just two grants awarded to Colorado projects through a special State Historical Fund initiative to demonstrate the connections between historic preservation and sustainability.
Please stay tuned to PresevationNation.org for additional information about the Emerson School and its upcoming green rehabilitation. Also, click here to learn more about the National Trust’s efforts to retain community-centered schools.
Jim Lindberg is the director of preservation initiatives for the National Trust's Mountains/Plains Office.