When you were younger and in high school, you probably wondered what it would be like to stay at school overnight.
What was the school like when it wasn’t busy with the bustle of students running to class, teachers’ lectures, and locker doors slamming?
Like stealing away at a museum overnight, a school seemed like it transformed each night when everyone left.
Well, the dream is alive for Lisa and Charles Shaw, who purchased an abandoned high school. They decided to transform the space into something magical, creative, and useful.
The two have spent the last 20 years converting the old school into an energy efficient home and community space.
The result is spectacular.
Back in 1996, Lisa and Charles purchased the Durango, Colorado high school. The building was decaying, but had good bones to it. The couple decided to move in with their son and fix the place up.
While they originally envisioned the vacant high school to be an artist space, energy efficiency quickly became a pressing issue. Lighting, cooling, and heating are expensive costs for a 45,000 square foot building.
Costs were running more than $5,000 a month.
So the couple switched gears to make their new home energy efficient. Using a new ventilation and lighting system, and building in solar panels they reduced their bills to $300 a month.
The now incredibly-efficient building became the artist space it was meant to be. The family shares their home with other artists and a few non-profit agencies.
The converted high school is now a landmark building in the Colorado town.
It’s also earned itself a name. The school is called the Smiley Building—a throwback to the school’s original name.
And it sure makes me smile!
The school turned home and community space is an amazing example of a massive renovation that’s not only meant to make a space more beautiful, but to improve it completely for the community at large.
I know I would love to visit Durango and see this place for myself! And I’m curious to know what it’s like to live in an old high school full-time.
Have you even visited a building like this one? Do you live in a home that used to be used for something else? Like us on Facebook and tell us what you think!