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Former Mandan school to be considered for historic designation

Plans are to convert the former Mandan Junior High into a 39-unit apartment complex for affordable housing. The former school in the downtown district has been closed since 2009. Bismarck Tribune phone.

BISMARCK — The former Mandan High School building is one step closer to garnering a National Register of Historic Places designation following action taken by a state board.

The North Dakota State Historic Preservation Review Board voted unanimously on Friday, April 28, to forward the building, more recently known as Mandan Junior High School, for consideration on the federal level.

Architectural historian Lorna Meidinger with the State Historical Society of North Dakota said a key reason for the group planning to purchase the building for the designation is to access Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit dollars. She said the idea is to convert the building into 35 low-income housing units.

"It'll be used, which keeps the building preserved," Meidinger said.

The building, designed by Gilbert Horton in the early 1900s, is also being nominated for its architecture in the Tudor/Collegiate Gothic style. A series of additions were made in subsequent decades.

After the 2008-09 school year, the building closed and students began attending the current high school. The building was eventually sold by the city.

Attaining historical place designation not only allows for access to financial incentives, but provides a level of prestige, Meidinger said.

Being listed on the National Register of Historic Places doesn't bar a building from being altered or sold.

Requests for being added to the list typically take up to 60 days for a decision to be rendered, Meidinger said.

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