About the Emerson School Project

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is rehabilitating the historic Emerson School in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The Frank B. McGlone Center at Emerson School will house the National Trust’s Denver Office, Historic Denver, Inc. and Colorado Preservation, Inc. The $3.2 million rehabilitation will include a new geothermal heating and cooling system, a complete interior rehabilitation, window restoration, and new fencing, trees and landscaping.

Built in 1885, the Emerson School was designed by Colorado’s first master architect, Robert Roeschlaub, who was known for his innovative school designs. It is the oldest remaining example of a Roeschlaub-designed school in Colorado. Closed in 1979, the Emerson School was adapted in the 1980s to create a senior center and medical clinic.

The Frank B. McGlone Center at Emerson School was donated to the National Trust by Capitol Hill Senior Resources, Inc. in 2010. In addition, one of the Capitol Hill Senior Resources trustees donated a $2.0 million endowment to the National Trust for the long-term maintenance of the building.

Project Goals

  • Creating a new historic preservation center. Co-locating three of Colorado’s leading historic preservation organizations will foster even greater cooperation among these partners and will provide a venue for joint educational events, fundraisers and public programs that will raise the visibility of historic preservation in the community.
  • Fostering neighborhood revitalization. The rehabilitation of the Emerson School represents a significant investment in Denver’s East Colfax commercial district and the surrounding Capitol Hill neighborhood. We look forward to working with our preservation and neighborhood partners to encourage additional preservation-based community development in the area.
  • “Greening” a historic building. This LEED-certified project will demonstrate how older buildings can be upgraded to meet -- or exceed – the highest standards for energy conservation. We will document and share our energy conservation strategies and techniques, as well as the results we achieve, so that others may learn from our experience.

Emerson School Project Summary

  • Building name: The Frank B. McGlone Center
  • Owner: The National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Location: 1420 Ogden Street, Denver, CO
  • Date of construction: Main School, 1885; Annex and Boiler Room, 1917
  • Building size: 19,849 square feet total (Main School - 15,207sf/Annex - 4,642sf)
  • Number of stories: 2 floors, plus basement and attic (Annex - 1 floor only)
  • Construction type: brick masonry
  • Building use: non-profit office space
  • Amenities: original interior lobbies and common spaces, large windows and natural light, kitchen and conference center, parking, landscaped grounds, bike-share station
  • Building tenants: National Trust for Historic Preservation, Colorado Preservation, Inc., Historic Denver, Inc., Howard Dental

Rehabilitation Cost

  • Total Cost: $3,228,641
  • Hard costs: $2,074,749 ($104/sf)
  • Soft costs: $803,892 ($40/sf)
  • Landscaping: $350,000 ($7/sf)

Funding Sources

  • State Historical Fund sustainability initiative grant
  • Colorado Historical Foundation Loan
  • Foundation grants
  • Private donations

Development Team

  • St. Charles Town Company, real estate development and management services
  • SLATERPAULL Architects, Inc., architecture
  • Rassbach Architecture, Inc., landscape design
  • Spectrum General Contractors, general contractors
  • Roger & Sons, Inc., HVAC and geothermal system
  • APCO Electric, Inc., electrical contractors
  • Belfay Engineering, mechanical/electrical engineers
  • Anderson & Hastings, structural engineering

Projected completion: February, 2012

This project is funded in part by a State Historical Fund grant from History Colorado, the Colorado Historical Society.