Schultz Senior Apartments I

Marla Mills, Executive Director of Old Town Cape, wrote, “One of the most difficult challenges a community can face is the dilemma posed by a white elephant – a big, empty, deteriorating building that no knows what to do with.  It was not so long ago that Cape Girardeau was faced with a building that could have easily become a white elephant.

Central High School, located in Cape Girardeau’s downtown area, was used as the public high school from its construction in 1915 until 1953 when the new Central High School was built on Caruthers Ave. The original high school building continued to be used as a public school, initially as a junior high.  In 1964 it became a seventh grade center and was renamed in honor of Louis J. Schultz, an educator who served the public school system for 36 years working in the building as a teacher, a principal, and superintendent. Most recently portions of the building were used for alternative education until its closure in 2008 when the building showed evidence of deferred maintenance.”

A true neighborhood school

You can see from this aerial photo taken in November that Central High School was truly a neighborhood school where a substantial number of its students were within walking distance. (Click on the photo to make it larger.)

Schultz School saw many changes

Marla explained that “the 1915 Central High School had undergone many changes to meet growing school needs.  A 1919 arts wing and a 1942 shop wing were added.

“In 1964, major alterations updated the facility, replacing the original sash windows with banks of aluminum awning windows and reworked doorways with commercial aluminum framing. The original hallway wainscoting with its simple wood cap was replaced with simple 4×4 off-white glazed tiles, the doorways to the upper level of the gymnasium from the main hallway were blocked up, numerous additional lockers added, and the stairways reworked, replacing the original wood wainscoting and railings with a modern small tile mosaic half wall and aluminum railings. Some of the stairways were enclosed with complete walls.

An additional stairway was built between the 1915 and 1919 wings, and in 1991, an elevator was added, making the building handicap accessible. [That addition covered up half of the original 1914 cornerstone.]

School District sold Schultz School in 2008

By 2007, the school district had determined that the building had outlived its usefulness and would cost too much to rehabilitate and renovate.

That’s where local developer Chad Hartle stepped in. He worked to get the school listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Once that happened, it allowed him to seek state and federal rehabilitation tax credits and housing tax credits.

He bought the building in August 2008 for just under two million dollars. To make the project work, he had to figure out how to provide affordable senior housing, preserve the original character of the building through historic preservation and to do it in a way that made economic sense.

Hartle preserved Cape’s heritage

From Marla: “But Chad did more than just save a building… he helped preserve Cape Girardeau’s heritage.  With the project completed, the building still illustrates its original use – a school—even as it successfully accommodates its new use—senior housing.

“The current historic rehab project removed most of the 1964 alterations.  The 4×4 tile was removed, the wood wainscot cap reconstructed in the hallways and stairways and the openings to the upper level of the gymnasium were reopened.  The staircases were reopened and the wood cap railings reinstalled.

“The 1964 staircase was eliminated to create a larger elevator lobby. Classrooms were converted into individual apartment units.  The original width of the hallways has been retained, along with original doors, transoms and flooring.

“And to help achieve an “old school” feeling and association, the 1960s windows were removed and replaced with windows similar to the original 1915-era windows. Even the space where the lockers were in the hallway has been retained to preserve the look and feel of the old high school.

“In addition to the rehab work, Chad made an effort to incorporate the history of the school and the community in the interior design.  He incorporated murals depicting a time line and other memorabilia that gives visitors and occupants a true sense of what happened within the walls of the old school.  All this is incorporated into completely modern, up-to-date and energy efficient apartments.

Preservation of Heritage Award

Old Town Cape awarded Chad the Preservation of Heritage Award for his work on Schultz Senior Apartments. In making the award, Marla noted that this isn’t an annual award. “In fact, it has only been presented three times before: in 2004 for the Marquette Towers project, in 2006 for The Southeast Missourian project and in 2008 for the River Campus Project.”

The building is also featured as the 2010 Old Town Cape collectible ornament.

Interior photos tomorrow

We’ll go inside the Schultz Senior Apartments tomorrow. Be prepared to be impressed. The apartments are first-rate and the public areas make you feel like you’re in a museum. It’s one of the nicest apartment buildings I’ve been in.

27 Replies to “Schultz Senior Apartments I”

  1. Anyone remember sneaking off campus to eat lunch at “Snack-n-Sack”?….Some of the teachers I remember:
    Ms. Krueger, Ken Phillips, Mr. Hopper, Bob Knight Hazel Jennings, Mrs. Johnson, Ms. Ledbetter

  2. Bravo – for your coverage and for the project! Did the renovation retain the old loop-de-loop fire escape that provided egress from the old auditorium on the upper (I think) floor? Or maybe it was gone long before. It was always fun to be able to use it during a fire drill, although I always wondered what would happen if the bottom door hadn’t been opened…

    Those of us who were crowded out of our sixth grade year at Franklin were privileged to spend three years (6-7-8) in this relic before heading off to “new” Central for 9th grade. Good times – Bill Ewing, Fog Allen, Mrs. Magill (McGill?), et al.

    My most vivid memory of these years, though, was the loss of our classmate and friend Larry Hermann to leukemia. It wasn’t my first run-in with mortality, but he was one of us – a peer, a friend, and a heck of a trombone player. Harsh.

  3. I hope nobody got dizzy looking at the aerial. Ernie Chiles and I had made a pass over SEMO and Trinity Lutheran School and had just started to bank to head for another target when I looked out the window and saw Schultz.

    I had just enough time to shoot this slightly crooked photo before I was looking at nothing but sky and clouds. Rather than crop out any buildings to straighten it up, I elected to run it as shot.

  4. Well nice job on this one…”I can remember”…now that sounds like an old man to me, but at least I do still remember. Mr. Knight throwing erasers at students who were not paying attention in class. Harold Payne hitting home runs at lunch on the roof of the cafeteria…that stopped the game. All of us were in awe of him so no one really cared; we just wanted to see him hit the softball on the roof! The janitor would at times station himself on the roof at lunch and throw down the ball so the game could continue, must to our delight, the janitor always got a standing “O” from the crowd.
    The once a year fire drills…Mike Rodgers was selected in the eight grade to be the first “guy” down the fire escape and burst open the doors. My gym class was selected to place the mats on the outside the fire escape. I remember see him kicking open the doors from the inside and landing on the gym mats we placed on the outside and then getting to run up the stairs to get in line to slide down the fire escape…just so we knew how to do it incase of real fire. Because we helped with the mats we got to enter the fire escape using balcony, another story higher than everyone else, we were special indeed.
    Great teachers, Golden Flenge, Mr. Knight, Mr. Estes, Ms. Ledbetter, Mr. Whitener, Ms Taylor, Mrs. Nay, Mr. Short and Mr. Steck to mention only few I remember of the top of my head. I thought the school was cool in the seventh and eight grades and never knew it was the old high school. Like many things in that era, I thought it was built just for me.

  5. Mrs. Lay & Mr. Draper stand out in my mind of teachers that made an impression on me! Mrs. Lay for her abilities in teaching, treating her students as equals & partners in her classroom. Mr. Draper, quite the opposite, at least in my case. He had a harsh, angry demeanor in his teaching style, from my point of view. I felt he picked on me, the “new kid on the block”. We had lived in Jackson MS for the first couple of months of the 8th grade before my parents separated. I had a “southern accent” & I think he must have still been fighting the Civil War! James Meredith had just been admitted to “Ole Miss” & National Guardsmen surrounded the State Capitol in Jackson while we lived there. I think he thought I was a “rebel” infiltrating his Yankee Classroom! When he commented on my penmanship one day at his desk, & wanted to know where I attended school in my early years. Educated mostly in the South, I had been born in Cape & attended Washington School first grade. He eased up on me after that, I had some Yankee Blood flowing in my veins. I also had the blessing of a Mother that had impressed upon me that we should all be judged by “the content of our character”…not so many years ago I ran into Mr. Draper shopping at Famous Barr. Recognized him right off…but remembered he hadn’t recognized who I was then nor did he that day!!!

  6. I graduated from CHS in January 1948. This building was my school for the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. The teachers that I remember were Miss Uhl for English, Miss Williams for math, and Miss Krueger for Latin and Mr. McConkey for economics. Mr. McConkey thought I was a smart alec and black balled me for membership in the National Honor Society even though I was highly qualified.

  7. Nice article, Ken. Two of my mother’s cousins live in the senior apartments; when I visited them last summer I was really impressed not only on how the building has retained its character, but also how nice the apartments are.

    Lots of memories come flooding back after reading all the comments…thanks everyone.

  8. I don’t know about everyone else, but my all-time favorite teacher from Schultz School and Central High was Coach Joe (Pug) Russell. No one was a stranger to him and it was obvious he loved everyone and life itself.

  9. Wonderful story, Ken! You made good use of your November sky time, didn’t you?
    I had no idea of the background of this wonderful building, but I am amazed by Chad Hartle’s insight in preserving it! So many of these wonderful buildings are gone and can never be replaced.
    I would love to tour it! I’m looking forward to your pictures of the inside!

    1. Wait until you see the stuff I shot around Advance. I shot some landmarks around Delta that showed me things I had never noticed from the ground. I’ve been holding off running too many aerials to keep folks from overdosing on them.

      If I was coming back for a reunion and had gone to Schultz, I’d definitely arrange a tour for my classmates. It would be interesting to hear comments from folks who knew it before and after.

  10. Ken, are you kidding? I was much too timid to even consider hooligan graffi. I shook in my shoes everyday I attended school there, I was in an emotional fog! I feared the teachers, students, the feelings of not belonging & Mr. Draper! My biggest fear, however was that we would have a fire drill & I’d have to bale out into that escape tunnel. Claustrophobic & fear of coming down from heights,gave me nightmares. Never had to take the plunge!

  11. This is a great update! I went to schoolm in that building from 1942 until 1945 and I intend to go check it out on my next trip to Cape. I went out to the new high school a while back just to see the old fire pole that used to be in the gym area and I slid down many times. I believe it is displayed in the library of the new school out by I-55.
    Joe Whitright “45”

  12. How ’bout some pictures of the inside of this school with the revamp? I would love to see what they did with the interior?

    Too bad they got rid of the slide down from the library.

  13. This is absolutely wonderful use of an old building. So glad where I went to Junior High School is being recycled, but we did LOVE that old slide down fire escape!!!

  14. I went there for 7th and 8th. We had too many 8th graders and I lived nearby so I stayed there. Hated the slide. Somehow I got turned around on it coming down! I was a nervous wreck. Enjoyed Miss Taylor, Mr. Brooks and Mrs. Grantham. We also had SNIG after school once a week. Coach Glissan (sp) for science. Glad they were able to renovate it. Coming home for Christmas from Houston. May stop by. Thank you Ken for all the stories and pictures each day. When will the Schultz interior ones come on?

    1. Mrs. Grantham was my grandmother. I wish I would have had a chance to go here for school. I was in the last 6th grade class that was at my elementary school. I got sent straight to the jr high. But I have many good memories of my grandma teaching there. I would go visit her every now and then

  15. I attended school there for 7th and 8th grade. The NEW jr high was completed for my 9th grade year. We were the first class to attend the new building, but I was somewhat disappointed because I was looking forward to being a “high school” kid. I do remember Mr Knight throwing erasers at the football boys and them throwing them back when his back was turned. He also would stand at the door after class and swat every boy who went out the door with a wooden paddle. Mr Hopper was quite the character, a good science teacher.(I have a couple of stories about some experiences I had in his science class. Thanks for reminding me Van) And does anybody else remember Mrs Jennings telling her peanut butter story? She was a hoot! That is the school I was attending when John F Kennedy was assassinated. We were in history class when the announcement was made. I am glad that the building is preserved instead of being demolished like so many other old buildings. Thanks Ken for another trip down memory lane.

  16. I love your posts, Men. Thank you for bringing back those memories for those of us who are now far away.

    They should have kept the chute. Love the idea of senior citizens making their escape sliding down it! Looking forward to tomorrow’s post!

  17. I would like a app to be sent to me by email if all possible. I need to move from Salisbury Mo and I know the cape area very well. I had applied there about 2 years ago. I would like any help that you can give me at this time.

    Thank you
    Theresa Howard

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