Old Garfield School turns Garfield Green

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RAPID CITY, S.D. ( KOTA TV ) It's called Garfield Green. Tuesday was the official ground– breaking ceremony on the old Garfield school grounds in North Rapid City.

The old Garfield School will now be transformed into apartments

The project is more than just building homes. It's about building the community.

The current plans will transform the old school, parking lot and playground area, into a 12–unit apartment complex, along with eight single-family homes.

The project is a great example of the re–use, re–purposing of what was once a community of children playing and learning into a neighborhood with affordable housing options.

At least, it's a step in that direction.

"Rapid City has an affordable housing crisis," Mayor Steve Allender said. "Groups like Habitat (for Humanity), by themselves are too small to answer that challenge. All of us together as a community can do something about it."

The homes going on the site are modular homes that were donated by a Canadian company. Their initial order was cancelled, so, rather than try to re–sell them, they donated them.

So far, five of the eight homes have new owners.

"This is so amazing," Sharon Hall, one of the new home owners said. "Very late last year, in fact November, Friday the 13th, November 13th, we were informed we'd be getting our house out here and it's just been the greatest thing in the whole wide world since then."

The homes are expected to be move– in– ready this fall. The apartments also could ready by the end of the year.

Black Hills Habitat for Humanity bought the land in 2012 and sold the school building to Glen Barber and Associates. Bill Barber, the principal of the operation as he calls it, says "This area means a lot to me. I remember it growing up. To be able to do something with it in a positive way means a lot. When I heard what Habitat for Humanity was doing, I wanted to be a part of it."

Black Hills Habitat for Humanity will put together the homes. GBA will take care of the apartments. Barber says the apartments will be available to everyone with a style and look that is sure to please.

Follow the buildings progress on this website:
www.thegarfield.com.