National Trust for Historic Preservation reveals its plans to restore the historic Emerson School

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On Thursday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced that it plans to transform the 1885 Emerson School in the Capitol Hill neighborhood into a model for greening historical buildings.

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Colorado Historical Society
Original sketch of the Emerson School in 1885.

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Dylan Burkhardt
The Emerson School today.

The Emerson School was originally built in 1885 and is the oldest elementary school still standing in Denver. Today, the building is known as the Frank B. McGlone Center and is used as a dental clinic and church. The building is undergoing a $2.3 million renovation to set an example that older buildings are able to meet, or even exceed, the highest standards for energy efficiency.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a non-profit organization that brings "people together to protect, enhance, and enjoy the places that matter to them." They are trying to promote the idea that "old is the new green." The trust received a $500,000 grant from the State Historical fund (a program of the Colorado Historical Society) and $1.5 million from the Capitol Hill Senior Resources, Inc. that will fund the greening of the Emerson School.

For the restoration, The National Trust revealed that it plans on reducing energy waste in the building whenever possible. It will receive a new HVAC system, energy efficient lighting, solar panels, a new super-insulated roof, and repair to tighten the original doors and windows. Ed Nichols, State Historic Preservation Officer and President of the Colorado Historical Society, said he was more than pleased to help the National Trust, as he handed Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust, the check for the $500,000 yesterday.

Nichols and Meeks are hoping that this restoration will help start a trend throughout Denver of preserving historical buildings. Nichols said that these buildings help to "enhance a community's identity, pride, and connection to local heritage." Mayor John Hickenlooper also spoke at the announcement stating that he is proud to support the restoration and is "looking forward to the success of this exciting project."

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