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100-year-old building getting new life after Aledo native's investment

The former junior high school will have 30 apartments; 27 will be income based, 3 will be market rate.

ALEDO, Ill. — The former junior high school in Aledo, Illinois will so be able to house 30 families. It's thanks, in part to an Aledo native's investment.

"The existing structure will be renovated into 24 residential rental units," said Jon Davidshofer, with Rock Island's Economic Growth Corporation. "We have planned for a 6-unit addition that's roughly 5,000 square feet that's on the west side of the existing structure."

The building began its life as a high school in 1921. At the time, girls and boys entered the building from different doors. 

Credit: WQAD
Boys entrance at former Aledo Junior High School
Credit: WQAD
Girls entrance at former Aledo Junior High School

Over the years, it became a junior high school. 

"The building had 80 years of students passing through the hallways. There's a lot of memories. It's a landmark building for the community," W.J. Albertson said. 

Albertson, an Aledo native, is the building owner now and has memories of his own after attending junior high here in the early 1980s. 

"I saw this cute girl in 7th grade and eventually she became my wife," he said.

Albertson's goal is to repurpose a space that's filled with memories for Aledo natives, but allowing room for new ones. 

"To be able to use these tall ceilings, wood floors, great spaces into new residences," Albertson said.

The project will cost around $12 million and will be funded mostly through the Illinois Historic Preservation Office, The National Parks Service and through tax incentives from the city of Aledo. Jon Davidshofer, from the Economic Growth Corporation says, "We hopefully will secure that funding in the first 6 months of next year."

Credit: Economic Growth Corporation
renderings of Former Aledo Junior High School renovation project/ CREDIT: Economic Growth Corporation

Albertson says, "We're strong believers that to bring life to the downtown, you need to bring lives downtown." 

Construction is slated to start in the last months of 2022 with a tentative move in date for tenants expected for the end of 2023.

Albertson is also responsible for the Old Aledo Carnegie Library transformation. Read about that at the related link below.

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