DakotAbilities’ Longfellow Center Receives the 2016 Mayor’s Historic Preservation Award
The 2016 Mayor’s Historic Preservation Award is presented to DakotAbilities for the restoration of Longfellow Elementary School. The Mayor’s Historic Preservation Award is given annually to recognize meaningful achievements in historic preservation by an individual, organization, company, or agency through advocacy, education, investment, support, or service, and to stimulate greater public awareness and understanding of historic preservation efforts.
“The Longfellow Center is a great example of how investing in historic structures in Sioux Falls can make such a positive difference,” says Mayor Mike Huether. “The Mayor’s Historic Preservation Award is a small but important way to recognize those who worked tirelessly to preserve this beautiful building.”
Longfellow Elementary School, located at Fourth Avenue and 20th Street in the McKennan Park neighborhood, is now home to DakotAbilities, a long-time service and support provider for people with severe physical limitations. Built in 1916 by Sioux Falls Construction, the school served its neighborhood for 100 years before renovations began after its final school year ended in May 2015. The building has been renamed the Longfellow Center and retains the “Longfellow” metal lettering on the front façade that has greeted hundreds of school children.
The building is designed in the Beaux-Arts style and listed as an anchor building within the McKennan Park Historic District. The renovation project updated finishes and converted classrooms to office suites and workrooms. Much of the original character is retained, including the stage, a majority of the woodwork, and an intact gymnasium. A façade easement grant supported the replacement of all windows with historically accurate operable wood windows. Playground equipment was left in place to share with the neighborhood. A terrace and meandering sidewalk were added, and planning is underway to include a community garden.
This year the City received four nominations for the award. Mayor Huether presented the award during the City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, and also read a proclamation in honor of Historic Preservation Month.