ENID, Okla. — One hundred years after it was built, Harrison Elementary School still is serving — this time, as a senior living community.
Harrison Court hosted an open house and ribbon cutting Thursday, with residents, management and members of the Enid community in attendance.
Gabe Woodman, vice president of the development company WoodCo Inc., spoke to those in attendance and thanked thanked the city of Enid, Enid Public Schools and other Enid organizations for their help with Harrison Court. WoodCo acquired the property from EPS and worked on its $6 million renovation since 2016.
“As developers, we always do look for cities like this to work with. You guys have been really accepting,” Woodman said. “We couldn’t have done it without everybody.”
The school is home to 18 apartment units, and its surrounding area contains 18 already-leased villas. Laquietta Adams lives in one of the former school’s apartments, and when she originally toured her current apartment, she realized she’d been there before — it was her second-grade classroom in the late 1950s.
“When (the management) showed it to me, it just came to me, ‘Oh my gosh! This is where I had my classroom,’” Adams said. “I was really excited about that.”
Adams moved into Harrison Court in January and was the second resident to live in the renovated school.
“I love it, I just love it,” Adams said. “It’s nice, it’s new. There’s other people our age right here, and that means a lot.”
Carrie Eisenhauer, a regional property management specialist for Wilhoit Properties, the company that manages Harrison Court, said there were a lot of specialty services involved in renovating the building and maintaining its “architectural dignity.”
“These kind of facilities make it possible for somebody who's worked (their) whole life, they should be able to afford a place to live,” Eisenhauer said. “To get two-for-one kind of, to be able to have the historic building that was going to be condemned then made into that housing is kind of cool.”
Eisenhauer said since Wilhoit specializes in affordable housing, that sometimes seniors come to them homeless, not wanting to be a burden on their children but having to choose between rent and food in their homes due to low Social Security payments.
“Our biggest thing is having seniors in a home that is more than just an apartment, but some place that they’re proud to call home,” Eisenhauer said.