What an honor to have our Dunbar Commons senior apartment community selected as a finalist for Urban Land Institute (ULI) Oklahoma‘s Impact Awards in the category of Large Scale Rehab & Restoration.
Dunbar Elementary School was built in 1922 to serve the African American community during an era of school segregation. The school was built in phases and provided education to thousands of children for almost 90 years. Fast forward to 2010, the Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) closed Dunbar Elementary citing “declining enrollment and a looming budget crisis.” This left the building vacant, deteriorating, and subject to vandals who set numerous fires and created nuisance at the property.
In 2015, the 4.4-acre property was purchased by Commonwealth Development Corporation with the goal to revitalize the building and bring value to the neighborhood. Dunbar Commons has been completely renovated and designed to meet the growing need of quality, affordable, housing in the Oklahoma City community. This 52-unit, 62+ senior apartment complex offers a range of ideal features and amenities to residents such as unique, spacious floor plans, an auditorium/cafeteria converted to a beautiful community room, elevator, fitness & business rooms, and raised garden plots. All units have been set aside for households earning less than or at 60% of the area median income (AMI) with 21 of the apartments reserved for households earning at or below 50% of the AMI. Located in the emerging John F. Kennedy neighborhood, Dunbar Commons has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places for its intricate design and architecture.
Check out this video (Dunbar starts at 1:01, volume on) to see a snippet of how unique adaptive reuse projects are and the cherished history they preserve.