William Robinson School to become condos

After jogging past the historic William Robinson School for years, local developer Braye Boardman said he wanted to save it.

 

"I didn't know what I wanted to save it for, but I wanted to save it because it's such a neat building," Mr. Boardman said.

He and his brother, Clay Boardman, decided to turn the school house on Williams Street into 12 luxury condominiums ranging from one to three bedrooms. The $3 million to $4 million project is called The SchoolHOUSE.

"Many of the people that we have known in the area didn't want a house and a yard. After talking to them and thinking about the project, making condos out of the school seemed like a natural fit. People wanted to stay in their own neighborhood, but they didn't want all of the hassles of a big yard and a big house," Mr. Boardman said.

"From talking to the neighbors, it has been really well received by people up and down the street. That means a lot. We've gotten a lot of interest. We've got numerous pre-sales," he said.

The interior renovations should be completed by February or March. The condos will range from $150,000 to $350,000, said project manager Anne Catherine Murray.

The exterior facade of the building will remain the same. A second phase involving construction of 12 townhomes on the property will begin when most of the condominium units are sold, she said.

"We both love historic preservation, and we decided it would be our first venture into building a green product," Mr. Boardman said.

The 15,000-square-foot school was designed by Willis Irvin and built in 1927. The Boardmans purchased the property in 2007, and it served as office space and an evening school in recent years.

"This is a fairly new product. I can't think of another school in Augusta that has been converted into condos, so we wanted to take it slow," Mr. Boardman said. "We're very optimistic that we'll be able to start phase two due to having a number of pre-sales already. We didn't think that would happen."

This is one of several projects the brothers are working on using green construction. The SchoolHOUSE is designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards. It will have energy-efficient windows and a reflective metal roof to reduce cooling costs.

The building has the potential to use 30 percent less energy than a conventional condominium structure, Mrs. Murray said.

Reach LaTina Emerson at (706) 823-3227 or latina.emerson@augustachronicle.com.

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