Lawler School Lofts nearly complete

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The “Chapel” apartment is still under renovation. It features a high ceiling, stained glass and other large, uniquely shaped windows and gold inlay trim on parts of the ceiling. (Photos by Ted Pennekamp)

This is part of the ceiling in the Chapel apartment.

The community center can be used for socializing, watching television and for special gatherings.

This is the kitchen in one of the apartments that have not yet been rented.

 

By Ted Pennekamp

 

The much anticipated Lawler School Lofts apartment complex at 601 S. Beaumont Road, Prairie du Chien, is finally nearing completion.

“Construction is nearly done except storm windows and screens in half the building,” said Property Manager Michelle Walleser, who also said the 31-unit garage building is complete as well as 39 of the 40 apartments.

Twenty-four of the apartments are now occupied, and Lawler School Lofts continues to take applications. Walleser said the building is an affordable housing complex and income guidelines need to be met in order to rent an apartment. Nine units are marketplace apartments, however, but they are all already occupied.

Walleser said the only apartment that is still under renovation is the “Chapel,” which will be a large and unique apartment which was the former chapel of St. Mary’s Academy. The Chapel apartment will feature a very high, decorated ceiling along with a stained glass window and other long, church-like windows. The Chapel will also be the only apartment in the building which has its own separate entrance.

Lawler School Lofts is a “green” building, said Walleser, who noted that the lights in the common areas are motion sensitive. The hallway lights are on all the time, however. There are also security cameras at various locations throughout the building.

One common area is the exercise room on the second floor. There is also a tenant run library-business center and a community center in which tenants and guests can eat, watch television or socialize. The community center is also available for free for such things as baby showers and parties for tenants and their guests.

Walleser said every tenant has their own storage unit in the former St. Mary’s gymnasium.

“This summer, we are also planning a community garden and a community grilling area to take advantage of our beautiful grounds,” said Walleser.

Walleser said landscaping on the Lawler School Lofts property will be done in July.

Lawler School Lofts is a mixture of three bedroom apartments and two bedroom apartments. Each apartment is unique in size and shape due to the shape of the building.

All of the apartments are comfortably large, especially the three bedroom units. Every apartment has a laundry room furnished with a washer and dryer. The three bedroom apartments have two bathrooms, including a master bathroom, most of which are right off of the master bedroom.

Lawler School Lofts is a historic preservation and reuse project. Hardwood floors were refinished and the preservation of historic woodwork helped keep the historic integrity of the property, while providing nice apartments for the residents to enjoy. Commonwealth Development, headquartered in Fond du Lac, is utilizing both federal and state historic tax credits, and without both of those resources, the project would not be feasible.

The exterior of the building has kept its historic look, as has much of the interior. The ceilings are high and the original windows remain, albeit with new panes. All asbestos and lead have been removed and the windows repainted.

The original tin ceilings in the hallways have been scraped, primed and painted. Also, much of the original wood in the 80,000-square-foot building was reused.

The building has retained its historic look, yet has modern amenities.

Construction on the $8.7 million project began in late August of 2017.

Those seeking more information can call Michelle Walleser at (608) 306-0493. She can be contacted via email at lawler@commonwealthco.net.

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