The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

January 16, 2013

Preserving history: Old Clay Hall dorm being converted to apartments for seniors

ENID, Okla. — Work is progressing at Clay Hall on the Northern Oklahoma College Enid campus, to convert the historic Phillips University dormitory into senior apartments.

Clay Hall was closed in 1989 by Phillips University after decades of use as a dormitory.

NOC sold the building last September for $150,000 to Enid Senior Residences, to be converted into senior apartments.

Enid Senior Residences, is a conglomerate led by the nonprofit PreservingUS, of Prairie Village, Kan.

PreservingUS Executive Director Angela Morehead said the organization has three primary missions: to preserve historic buildings; to provide affordable housing for low-income seniors and the disabled; and to provide resident services to help seniors and the disabled maintain independent living.

Morehead said the renovation of Clay Hall will enable PreservingUS to accomplish all three of those goals in the Enid community.

PreservingUS previously has undertaken development of historic buildings into senior living apartments, with four completed projects and two in progress in Kansas, plus an in-progress development in Minnesota and the Clay Hall project in Enid.

Morehead said PreservingUS will “couple with the developer to assist them in restoring the building, and help them convert it to affordable housing.”

Enid Senior Residences has contracted with Cohen-Esrey Affordable Partners, of Overland Park, Kan., to act as developer and eventual management firm for the Clay Hall property.

Cohen-Esrey, in turn, has contracted with Construction Technologies, also of Overland Park, to act as general contractor for the project.

Morehead said the entire conversion project will carry a price tag of $6.7 million, including $3.65 million in construction permits issued by the city of Enid to Construction Technologies last October.

The project scope includes renovating the historic four-story dormitory and converting it to a 30-unit apartment building, complete with a common area, library and business center.

Morehead said the 30 apartments will include 12 one-bedroom apartments of about 850 square feet each, and 18 two-bedroom, 1,038-square-foot apartments.

Residency will be limited to people who are 55 or more years old or are disabled, with an income 50 percent below the average median income.

Morehead said the median income requirement is in place because the apartments are designed to be “affordable for those living on a limited income.” The apartments are projected to rent for $385 per month for the one-bedroom units and $460 per month for the two-bedroom apartments.

PreservingUS and Enid Senior Residences are funding the Clay Hall project through a combination of sources, Morehead said, including tax credits and a $1 million mortgage taken out on the property last week with Country Club Bank of Kansas City, Mo.

Morehead said the Clay Hall project was selected by PreservingUS because Enid is a good market for affordable housing.

“We looked at several communities throughout the Midwest, and in each community we looked at the population and the needs of the area,” she said. “Enid just seemed to be an ideal place, where the population was there to support the project, the need for housing was there, the demand was there, and we thought we would have a good shot of developing affordable housing there.”

Morehead said the project also will benefit the community by preserving Clay Hall.

“It’s a great building, and it didn’t need to be left to turn into an eyesore,” she said. “In our field, of course we get excited about how a building looks, but the need also was there. Enid just turned out to be ideal for us.”

Morehead credited support from NOC in bringing the development plan to fruition.

PreservingUS is taking names for a waiting list on the apartments, but applications will not be accepted until about 30-60 days before project completion.

Morehead said the Clay Hall project should be completed by October, “if not before.”

For information, call Morehead at (913) 671-3365 or email amorehead@preservingus.org.Ќ

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