A developer is planning to convert a former junior high school in Des Moines, Iowa, to a hotel.
WHO-TV reports that earlier this year, Jeff Young bought the building that formerly housed Franklin Junior High School for $2 million. He plans to spend an additional $6 million upgrading the building.
“There will be some remodel, but we envision this building to look darn near like it looks right now," Young says. "So when you come to stay in one of our hotel rooms it’s going to look like you’re staying in a classroom. The chalkboards will still be on the wall and the old-fashioned pencil sharpener will still be there, too."
Plans call for the second floor of the building to be hotel space; the first floor will be a mixture of community space, bars, restaurants, music venues and office space.
“We are talking about hotel rooms that could be as small as a hostel-style hotel room and as large as a 1,200-square-foot classroom that would be your hotel room,” Young says.
The former school is a two-story building that was constructed in 1948. Des Moines Public Schools closed the school in 1979.
In 1980, a local church bought the property and renovated the facility, including adding a 4,000 foot sanctuary. Young wants to transform the sanctuary into a music venue.
“This building has so much space and there are so many potential uses for it that we would really like to have the community support in going forward with what we want to do,” Young says.
Young says construction will begin once rezoning is approved.