Henry County celebrates opening of School Drive Apartments

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 5:14 PM EST
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HENRY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - A former elementary school in Collinsville now has a new life and a new name.

John Redd Smith Elementary School in Collinsville shut down in 2018. Just like the day it closed, the community came together again five years later to celebrate the reopening of the school as new apartments.

“I think it’s fantastic people have such positive memories of this building,” said Benjamin Boone, former principal of John Redd Smith Elementary School. “I feel like we can build upon that and future generations can look forward to more memories from this facility.”

The new School Drive Apartments feature 39 one- and two-bedroom units and a restored gym. The rent ranges from $895 to $1,195 per month.

“Starting from scratch out of the ground becomes more or less an impossible situation for a young professional coming out of school,” said Jim Cherney, Historic Collective managing member. “What we provide is that interim, affordable housing so an individual can move from an apartment dweller to a homeowner.”

The bones along with the historic elements of the school are still in attendance, like the chalk boards and windows.

This is the second project the Historic Collective has completed in Henry County, with two more on the horizon.

“We’re able to repurpose the school such that it is an economic benefit. It also contributes to the tax base of the town. Once you have people who are living here, spending their money here, it’s a multiplier effect for commerce. So, we’re proud to be a part of that economic engine,” added Cherney.

To apply for one of the remaining nine apartments, visit historiccollective.com/.