Former school now ready for residents to move in

OKLAHOMA CITY - The old Page Woodson school has been a hot spot for vandals since it closed more than 20 years ago.

Now, the former northeast Oklahoma City school is seeing new life as apartments.

The art deco designs on the outside, chalkboards and the old auditorium are clues the building was once a school.

"It is the historic preserved auditorium exactly the way it was," said Gina Sofola, Page Woodson project manager.

Now, it's going to be a home to hundreds of residents.

"When we first began, we really set out to save this building because it was the last historic piece of fabric, if you will, in the African-American community's last standing historic vestige," Sofola said.

More than $28 million later, the old Page Woodson school now has 60 affordable housing units.

Even before Page Woodson school, it was Douglass High School and during the construction process, they found an old Douglass High School sign hiding behind limestone and other gems harkening from the '30s.

"Under the auditorium, we found all kinds of rations for a catastrophe - water, C rations," she said.

The old Douglass High School is part one of five different phases.

We've also found out the apartments are going to be market rated housing as well as a coffee shop and eventually they'll be putting in a plaza.

"We are putting in the pieces of the community back together," Sofola said. "We will be putting in 500 or more residents in the form of multi-family living.”

It will take years to complete, but those involved believe this is a key part to reinvigorating northeast Oklahoma City with the hope to do more in the future.

"We think that the same thing that we've done here can be done at some of the other schools in the northeast part of Oklahoma City that have been abandoned,” said Ron Bradshaw, the developer for the project.