$10M renovation of former Hayden High School nears

Published 9:23 am Friday, August 17, 2012

FRANKLIN—Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia next spring may break ground on a $10 million project to transform a historic black high school into a senior housing and community center that could create 60 jobs.

Senior Services officials on Monday told Franklin City Council the renovation of Hayden High School into a 62,000-square-foot, government-subsidized apartment complex for seniors is nearing. In addition to 25 apartments, the facility will include an adult daycare center, black history museum, café and Head Start building.

“We could conservatively say spring of 2013,” Long-Term Care Capacity Planner William Wade said about the groundbreaking. “We’re really trying to be aggressive about it and make it happen sooner.”

The new jobs would be in customer service, management and the medical field, said Senior Services Chief Executive Officer John Skirven. He said it was too early to say how much the jobs could pay.

Senior Services has applied for a state and federally funded historic tax credit, which if approved, could pay for up to 45 percent of the cost to restore the building constructed in 1953, Wade said.

To be named Hayden Village Center, the facility will have 10 apartments in the original building and 15 in a new wing.

The project has been in the planning stages for about five years. One obstacle was finding the right combination of uses.

“With any big project like this, it takes time for everyone to come together on a common vision,” Skirven said.

Wade said they haven’t started renting the apartments, but have received inquiries. Rent would be about $530 a month, including utilities.

Hayden was named for Della I. Hayden, a Hampton University graduate, who in 1904 founded a private boarding school for black girls in Franklin. She served as principal there until her death in 1924.