The first iteration of Hommel Elementary School was The Everman School, a title still prominently displayed across the front of the building. It was built in 1922 for $31,000 and housed grades K-12. Since then, the building has undergone multiple renovations, losing many of its historic elements in the process. It is now Hommel Elementary School and serves Pre-K through 4th grade.
In 2014, Huckabee was tasked with renovating the space to provide additional classrooms, add safety and security updates and restore some of the school’s history. The renovation included a 2-story classroom addition, which allowed the school to get rid of portable buildings, as well as a secure-entry vestibule and upgrades to building systems. Most notably, however, are the ways in which Huckabee worked to restore the historic aesthetic. From restoration of the original floors to replicating design elements founds in the 1920s, Huckabee was able to bring back the building’s original charm
“During previous renovations, the floors had been covered in vinyl and then covered in carpet,” said Mike King, Associate Principal for the project. “When we pulled back the flooring, we realized there might be an opportunity to restore the original hardwoods. We did a test run in one of the classrooms, and the floors looked great. Now, throughout the building, the original hardwoods have been refinished and restored.”
During the floor restoration, Huckabee uncovered the original court markings from a gym added in the 1940s. The gym had been re-purposed as classroom space and is now the library. While Huckabee was unable to restore the original markings, we instead replicated them, including the historic Everman “E” at center court. It sits proudly at the center of the library, reminding students and teachers of the school’s long history.
Other unique elements include the use of tin ceiling tiles (similar to those used in the original design), walnut bead-board wainscoting and period-style lighting fixtures and window panes.
“We replaced all of the single-pane windows in the facility,” said Mike King. “We were able to provide the school with energy efficient replacement windows that were designed to fit the historic aesthetic. And while we were unable to save the marble sills, the director of facilities had his own idea to re-purpose the material—he cut the marble to make small paper weights for the school!”
Hommel Elementary re-opened in August, during a ribbon cutting ceremony that brought back alumni from the old days. One gentlemen was overheard saying, “I attended here in 1935 and it is so good to see my first grade classroom is still here.”