New high school to move in historic Naval Armory

WISH Photo/Howard Monroe

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Herron High school is expanding and looking to the Naval Armory for it’s new location.

School officials want to start construction before Thanksgiving.

By the time it opens in August 2017, it will have space for over 600 students.

“When we walked in here we just knew,” said Janet McNeal, the president of Herron High School. “It just felt like we could do school here in an amazing way.”

The charter school first opened on 16th Street in the Herron Morton neighborhood in 2006.

The school there was also a remodel. It was built in 1929 as the John Herron Art Institute.

They’re now looking to expand their classical liberal arts curriculum here at the Naval Armory.

“Being in historic buildings allows students to understand that there was a time before them. That there was a time that this building was important to the city,” said McNeal.

Officially known as Heslar Naval Armory, it was built in 1936 out of concrete and served as a naval armory during World War II.

“There was a lot of activity here being an inland center for military planning,” said Marsh Davis, the president of Indiana Landmarks.

The preservation organization is leading the $7.6 million project.

“You can imagine, re-configuring this into a modern classroom space is going to take a lot of work,” said Davis.

The armory will be renamed Riverside High school. It has sweeping views of the White River and the city skyline in the distance.

Inside there are still signs of it’s naval past remain: ropes on railings, port holes on many interior doors, and globes as light fixtures.

There are also signs of wear and tear. The building has been vacant for 5 years.

“If it stands vacant for many years it will deteriorate,” said Davis.

They plan on having the building open by the next school year. Enrollment will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

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