There hasn’t been a student enrolled at The Kennedy School since 1979, but the tidy campus tucked into the corner of a Northeast Portland neighborhood is alive with activity year-round. The 1915 Spanish-style school building was converted to a hotel complex in 1997 by Oregon’s McMenamin brothers, after sitting empty and at risk of demolition for years.
With Philadelphia beginning to seriously consider what will become of dozens of former school buildings here, the Kennedy School and the McMenamins’ other adaptive reuse projects, ranging from grand hotels to small local churches, are worth a look.
A lesson in creative thinking
Neighbors had successfully campaigned to have the Kennedy School historically designated, but several attempts to find an appropriate redevelopment failed. The McMenamins, developers of hotels, brewpubs and entertainment venues in Oregon and Washington, won city approval for their proposal.
It took creative financing, but more importantly, creative thinking. As a result, The Kennedy School’s 57-room hotel may be not be the weirdest thing in Portland, but it is among the most unique.
The school remains a vital community gathering point by offering public meeting space and through events. The auditorium is now a movie theatre, with weekly matinees and infant-friendly showings; lectures and community events are held in the old library and classrooms; weddings happen in the former gymnasium.
Read the rest of this great article via From Portland, cues for Philly school-building reuse — NewsWorks.