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The Bell Artspace Campus won a prize for best historic rehab

The former middle school in Treme now serves as affordable artist housing and studios.

Photo courtesy Leslie Doles

The Andrew J. Bell school was derelict and graffiti-covered prior to its renovation.

A former Treme middle school campus, converted into artist housing and studios, won Affordable Housing Finance Magazine’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Award for best historic rehab project.

The sprawling, six-building campus had been vacant since Hurricane Katrina and the federal levee failures in 2005. After a $37.4 million renovation in 2016, it became Bell Artspace, which houses 79 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments for low- to moderate-income artists. Minneapolis-based nonprofit Artspace and nonprofit Providence Community Housing served as co-developers.

Architects and contractors worked to preserve historic elements from the former Andrew J. Bell school. Built in 1904, its Gothic features include dormer windows with leaved stone finials, and Corinthian columns in the chapel, which is now a 2,000-square-foot community space.

“We are honored to accept the 2018 Reader’s Choice Award for best historic rehab project from Affordable Housing Finance magazine alongside our friends and partners, Artspace,” stated Terri North, president and CEO of Providence Community Housing, in a press release. “Bell School Apartments is the realization of hard work, creativity, and a commitment to high-quality work.”

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