PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- New life is coming for an historic building in Portland.
The old Nathan Clifford School will be become an apartment building by December.
The building became the center of controversy in 2008. The school was in disrepair and the city council was split on whether or not to close it. Eventually, the matter was put to voters, who approved building the Ocean Avenue school to replace Nathan Clifford. The school closed in February 2011, and was sold to developers last October.
Groundbreaking was today -- with the support of city officials, who are glad that the business Developers Collaborative has found a way to reuse the space.
Developers plan to build 22 luxury apartments -- each reflecting the old school's character. Contractors say they are preserving the terrazzo staircase, some of the wood-paneling and brass coat hooks.
Renowned architect John Calvin Stevens designed the 44,000 square foot building in 1907. Today, his great grandson is happy to see the old building get new life.
"I wish this could have been an education institution because that was what it was designed for ongoing but certainly the Developers Collaborative is going to be a great steward of this building moving forward and I think it's great that it could be saved," said Paul Stevens.
There is still a playground outside of Nathan Clifford. That piece of land will remain a public park.