GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — A part of Downtown Grand Junction is getting a bit of a makeover. Renovations to the old “R-5 High School” building are now underway.

“This project is important I think because we see ourselves as stewards of this building which has always had a public component to it – as an elementary school and then later as a high school,” said Developer Jeremy Nelson.

Within the North Seventh Street Residential District lies a magnificent building, locally known as Lowell School. Built in 1925, as an elementary school, it later became the R-5 high school in 1971. The Grand design comes from famed architect, Eugene G. Groves, who contributed to numerous buildings and additions at the former “Mesa State College”.

“It is our first historic preservation project and these are not easy projects to do so we know enough to know what we don’t know and we knew that the school had intrinsic charm and we wanted to restore it and return it to kind of a more central role in the community’s life,” said Nelson.

Renovations to transform the historic building into a business complex are underway — and tenants are now making their way inside.

“They just put in new ceiling tile and lights and um they’ve really restored some of the original charm and character with the chalkboards and original cabinets um [a] really beautiful space.”

As for the front lawn of the former school, it will remain open to the public and will surely become Grand Junction’s newest attraction.

“We really want both the building to be accessible to the public in terms of bringing people in having a lot of energy, creativity, but we also want the lawn to function as downtown’s newest public open space,” stated Nelson

With such a big restoration project taking place, Jeremy Nelson thanks his team, the Downtown Development Authority, and the Colorado Historical Foundation.

The timeline for completing this project is in 5-10 years. Phase 2 of the Lowell Village Project — which incorporates new townhomes — will begin construction this summer.