Low Interest Loans Make Historic School's New Windows a Reality

Lincoln's oldest surviving school building
Seventy-one windows in Lincoln's oldest
surviving school building, now Hayward
Place Condominiums, were recently replaced.

Some people won't stop until they get what they want.

What Ed wanted was new, energy-saving windows that looked just like ones in the 1925 Lincoln Elementary School building, but solved the problems of the original single-paned windows. Problems like falling glass.

"The windows in that part of the school were 75 years old," Ed Caudill, one of Hayward Place Owners' Association officers, said. "These were the only windows not replaced when the school was converted to condos in 1985."

Shards in the Grass

"In many ways we were lucky, when the glass literally began falling out of the frames, replacing the windows had already been scheduled," Caudill said. Tenants also had other complaints: rattling panes, condensation and frost on the inside glass in the winter.

Hayward School, located in the Capitol City's North Bottoms neighborhood and only a few blocks from NU's Memorial Stadium, is the oldest surviving Lincoln public school building. Classes ceased in the building in 1968, but civic uses of the space continued until 1982. The building was sold and converted into 41 condominiums in 1985.

Because the building is also on the Register of National Historic Places, the condo owners also needed to match any replacement windows as closely as possible with the original ones. But that option was very expensive. After checking with several manufacturers of custom windows, the estimate for exact replacement of 71 windows - single paned, wood trimmed with muntin bars - was more than $120,000. The Association Board also checked with many manufacturers during the year-long search for a company that could replicate the originals.

1925 Addition
The 1925 addition to the school,
picured here, still had the original
windows in the building.

Even more importantly, the window manufacturers would not guarantee the new windows. All the manufacturers even recommended against putting in exact replacement windows. Things seemed to be at an impasse. Then, Caudill began working with the city's Preservation Officer, seeking a more affordable and practical solution.

At that point, two other factors came into play: spotting information on the Energy Office's low-interest loans and finding a window manufacturer experienced with historic renovations.

"The loan department at Cornhusker Bank has Dollar and Energy Saving Loan brochures all over the place. You can't miss them, they are everywhere you look," Caudill said. "It made sense to see if the replacement windows we wanted could qualify for a low-interest loan."

Nine Foot Eagles

According to Caudill, Eagle Window and Door, a manufacturer based in Lincoln, provided a long list of buildings where their products had been used to meet historic preservation guidelines. The firm also could produce the windows in the sizes - up to more than 9 feet tall - that were needed. Eagle recommended the single-paned all-wood windows be replaced with low-emissivity, argon-filled, double-paned, aluminum clad ones. The distinctive pattern of muntins that divided the windows into panes would be between the gas-filled glass. Not only would the Eagle windows provide better protection from the Plain's weather, the cost was nearly $40,000 cheaper.

"The window units had to fill existing openings in order to maintain the flavor of the old building. Eagle Window and Door Company is able to custom build windows to fit any opening," Dan Snyder of Eagle Window said. "This allowed the contractor to maintain the original look of the school. The Association wanted to feature as much glass as possible to give the units an open, airy feeling. At the same time, the warmth and beauty of the wood was needed."

One Hurdle Down

When the Association asked the city's Historic Preservation Commission for a hardship exemption, the Commission members were at first skeptical. Few were convinced new energy efficient windows could be made to match those in the 75-year-old addition. But the experience of the manufacturer, especially a photo presentation of similar window replacements on historic structures, convinced the Commission to grant the exemption.

Workers removing windows
This opening is where a bank of five
windows was removed.  Workers were
able to remove old windows and
install new ones in a single day.

Next, would the windows meet the Energy Office's standards for obtaining a low-interest loan? The double-hung windows from Eagle had a U value of .36, .04 above the Energy Office's minimum rating, so the windows had no difficulty qualifying for a loan.

When the project first arrived in the Energy Office for the initial review, the Association only sought financing for $60,000, the maximum for a multi-family project. However, since the Association was in reality a small business with fewer than 25 employees and annual revenue below $2.5 million, the group could borrow up to $100,000. In February 1999, the Energy Office approved the project and the construction of the windows could begin.

There From The Start

According to Pauline Smith, a loan officer and Assistant Vice President with Cornhusker Bank in Lincoln, helping make the window replacement project a reality was a natural. "Cornhusker helped finance the purchase of many of the condos," Smith said. "We were glad Cornhusker could also be a part of the on-going preservation of the property. The building is the gem of the North Bottoms neighborhood." The Energy Office said Cornhusker Bank is one of Lincoln's larger providers of Dollar and Energy Saving Loans.

In May last year, the replacement got underway. Seventeen units would be affected during the removal and replacement of the 71 windows. "Despite all the planning, it still took about a month and a half to finish the project," Caudill said. "You can't plan the weather - it rained a lot last spring."

"Fortunately, the contractor was able to remove the old window and install the new window unit in the same day," Caudill said. "Tenants really had only a day's worth of inconvenience." The project was completed in June.

According the Caudill, everyone is pleased with the new windows. "Many of the tenants told me they were more than satisfied," Caudill said. "The windows were better than they thought they would be." One benefit couldn't have been predicted: noise reduction. "Once the original windows were removed, all you could see was hollow space around the opening, now that area has been insulated and enclosed," Caudill said. "Everyone is amazed - and pleased - at how much quieter it is."

"This building has been here for 100 years and will probably be here for another 100," Caudill said. "You don't replace windows very often. It just makes sense to get energy-efficient ones. Who knows? They will probably be in here for another 75 years."

Return to the Spring 2000 Newsletter