Purchased in 2008, Octagon Partners of Charlottesville has painstakingly undertaken the preservation and adaptive reuse of the iconic landmark building which housed the original R.E. Lee High School from 1927-1984. Now completed, its’ former classrooms have been magnificently transformed to offer 62 apartments, community spaces, and an epicenter of activity for the senior population.
The former gymnasium has been remodeled to become an attractive Wintergarden, and adjacent spaces include dining services and a community room for day-to-day activities and recreation. The building’s spacious former classrooms with grand views of the park and residential area have been converted into contemporary studio, one and two-bedroom residences, each with its own history and character. Standard features in each include high-efficiency individual climate control, a full kitchen, washer and dryer, emergency call system, and universal design features.
The expansive former industrial arts space, located below the gym has been completely renovated into the new permanent home for the Staunton Senior Center. The Senior Center provides ongoing educational programming, Medicare insurance counseling and daily activities, as well as a kitchen to serve as a hub to the community’s Meals on Wheels program.
The former auditorium now houses the NTelos Theatre, home of ShenanArts, a community theatre organization that offers a variety of performances and ongoing youth theatre education throughout the year. Residents of Gypsy Hill Place have sole access to the auditorium balcony, where they can take in rehearsals leading up to opening night. The theatre is also utilized for screening films, musical acts, speakers and associated meetings and events. While activity abounds at the NTelos Theatre, the building’s solid brick and masonry construction and large corridors enables an appropriate separation between residential access and uses from ShenanArts and the Senior Center.
Further, the building is a new location along the Staunton Trolley route, providing even greater access to Staunton’s historic downtown. Recent completion of the greenway along Churchville Avenue better connects Gypsy Hill Place with the Staunton library, and the former high school’s proximity next to Gypsy Hill Park provides residents with a wealth of outdoor activities and spectator events.