NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY) — An almost 100-year-old building in New Iberia is being renovated and preserved. The former New Iberia Senior High school is currently being used for senior living. A nearly $14M project will renovate the exterior and 65 existing senior living bedrooms in the old New Iberia High School. It also going to reintroduce the auditorium which has been walled off for decades.
“As we enter into the first floor most of the work we have going on here is going to be our demo,” assistant supervisor for Impetus Build, Patrick Siener, told News 10 as we entered the structure built in 1926.
From the floors to the walls, the windows, and everything in between, each room inside the School Days Apartments is being retouched. The space was last renovated to become a senior living facility in 1994, at the same time it was added to the national register of historic places.
Each piece of the original 1926 design down to the doors is being salvaged, sanded, repainted, and saved. Any spot in too much disrepair, such as certain windows, is being replaced with the most authenticity possible.
“These old buildings can be difficult to deal with. Obviously, with the historic renovations like this, we have to keep as much intact as we can,” Siener stated. “It’s a good thing we’re professionals and we know what we’re doing.”
Patrick Siener and Impetus Build were hired for the project by HRI Properties who last restored the old Lafayette Coca-Cola bottling plant to the new Bottle Art Lofts. The company’s Senior Vice-President Christopher Clement says preservation will go hand-in-hand with modernizing water, heat, plumbing, electricity, and weatherproofing.
New countertops, cabinets, and appliances will also be installed.
“Ensuring that we’re sustaining quality, top of the market living and housing opportunities for the senior citizens that live there,” Clement assured.
The project has three phases: west wing, east wing, and center. Residents are staying in the east wing while the west is redone. Once east wing renovations are complete, the center will feature a new community room in the auditorium space, a courtyard, picnic areas, and ramp access to the front of the building.
“The residents here are very nice, and they have been working with us,” Siener told News 10. “I’m sure they’ll like it a whole lot more.”
Weather permitting and all things go well this project is expected to be completed by Christmas of 2022.