When a building you love becomes an eyesore, it can cause heartache.
“It was hard to drive by and see all the broken windows and everything. Unbelievable,” said Vivian VanDyke, a former Draper school student and teacher.
For VanDyke, Rotterdam’s old Draper school is home.
“I was a student here from kindergarten until I graduated in 1948. I came back and taught here 1st grade and then had family and all three children went here.”
Vivian joined other past graduates at a ribbon cutting Thursday, marking the completion of a two-year, $14 million project.
Developer Jesse Holland was tasked with leading the overhaul. The 111 unit Draper Lofts Apartments officially opened Thursday with a ribbon cutting. The first group of tenants moved in last November.
“It is wonderful to be able to breathe new life back into this building,” said Holland.
Much of the original building was kept intact to preserve its character.
“This is our home, and just to see it be somebody else’s home now and be part of the community is just very uplifting for all of us,” said Fran Pugliese, a Draper School alum.
“It means a lot. I am so glad they didn’t have to tear it down and it made something beautiful like this,” said VanDyke.