KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The sale of the Old Knoxville High School is official and the building will soon become a living community for seniors.
“There’s really a no more iconic and beautiful building in all of the mix than this one right here,” developer Rick Dover said.
The building will be transformed into 75 senior rental apartments.
The apartments will offer services including full transportation, meals and wellness programs.
“I kind of created it like, ‘Well where would I want to live when I get to be just a little bit older?’ This is it,” Dover said.
Dover is the general manager of Family Pride Corp.
The company bought the building for $500,000 from Knox County and said it plans to put another $14 million into renovations.
“Obviously, it’s an older building,” Dover said. “We’ll make the adaption of the floor plan fit the existing structure.”
The building will also house a museum that honor’s the school’s history.
“They’ve got all kinds of memorabilia, sports trophies, many, many things, stories of interesting things that happened at Knox High dating all the way back to 1910,” Dover said.
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said he is pleased with the sale.
“When we took control of it, we wanted to make sure we turned it into a productive part of the downtown community and in effect that’s what it’s doing now,” Burchett said.
Some critics have questioned whether a senior living community is the best use for the building.
“I think in order to have a vibrant mix socially that you need all age groups, all income groups, all of everything included and really right now the kind of things that folks may need as they age are not really available downtown,” Dover said.
Dover said it will take a few more months to get the permits in place but they are expecting construction to begin in the spring.
Dover said they’re hoping to have the apartments available for tenants by the summer of 2016.