Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
The former Maeser Elementary School in Provo is a century old.

PROVO — A plan to turn a historic school into apartments for the elderly is moving slowly because of a lack of financing.

In an attempt to renovate now-shuttered Maeser Elementary School, Provo's Housing Authority acquired the option to purchase and renovate the building for low-income housing.

In July 2003, Provo School District's Board of Education agreed on an option that would preserve the 105-year-old landmark.

The board twice postponed deadlines to tear down the historic Maeser school while in search of a buyer with a plan that would appease board members, neighbors and historic preservationists.

The board approved a $20,000 option that gave Provo Housing Authority the right to purchase the property before Feb. 2.

Housing Authority Director Doug Carlson on Tuesday gave the school board an update on the project.

Carlson announced his plan to pay the school district $10,000 to extend his option for three months. He needs the time to raise money.

Carlson said housing for low-income seniors is needed in Provo. Plus, he said, the project would save a historic building from being demolished.

A market study commissioned by Carlsoni's group indicates there is a need for housing for men and women 55 or older who earn less than $17,000 a year.

Provo Housing Authority plans to keep the exterior of the Maeser building intact, but major inside renovation would be necessary to convert all of the classrooms into livable space. The playground will also be used to create subdivisions and building lots.


E-mail: tsotomayor@desnews.com