Sunday, April 27, 2014

St Marys School Conversion - A Happy Centenary

Photo by Mike Ebert

This year marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most beautiful buildings in St Marys. You may remember Central School Manor from a previous post as one of three award recipients of the Heritage St Marys Award. On the evening of April 24th, Brian and I attended a seminar on the Manor, hosted by owners, designers and developers Mike Ebert and Ray Doerksen and the St Marys Museum. This impressive Classical Revival style building (also referred to as Romanesque style) is in the process of being converted into luxury condominiums. 
Follow me on this tour.
Built from local limestone, what comes to my mind as I'm approaching the entrance is 
FORTRESS and CASTLE.
Here is a link to the building's history.

Original school doors
Ray Doerksen (seen near the doors) was our guide. The stairwells were kept wide and bright, as originally intended when loads of kids were going from floor to floor. Architectural details such as huge moldings and base boards were added, giving the space weight, substance and old world charm. Sections of wall were deliberately left uncovered so as to display the massive concrete brickwork (seen above left). 

  During renovations, the original oak wood hand rails were removed for protection, but have now returned and are ready to be varnished. An elevator is being installed in the other entrance.

We were then shown the model suite. My photographic skills do not do it  justice - please go to the Manor's website for a detailed view of the suite's luxurious and elegant amenities

Of course, luxury is also synonymous with outdoor living. A nice portion of the land has been allocated to a communal garden. Once everything is planted, fully grown and in bloom, vines and all, one can easily imagine how lovely it would be to spend time out here.  

From the garden, we can see where used to be the school's library. The semi-circular structure will be part of a feature suite - named the Library Suite, of course. You can view the Manor's floor plans to see other options. My favourite is the Geography Suite. (Mama likes a terrace.)


Back inside, Ray took the time to show us unique structural components that can only be found in century old building techniques. The support beams of this room, for example, could support six elephants.


Thirteen foot ceilings, 3-foot thick stone walls, and rows of concrete brick walls separating each suite provide sound proofing old school style - literally. 

Walking through Central School Manor, one truly gets the feeling this building will still be standing seven hundred years from now. Why? Because medieval castles are still standing today. To me, this is the real meaning of luxury. Of course, I appreciate high-end appliances, fixtures and furnishings, but all this is meaningless if they are housed in cheaply made homes that fall apart soon after they are built. There are only fifteen units planned for the entire building. Mike Ebert and Ray Doerksen are truly enlightened developers
.
Central School Manor - Luxury Condominium is highly deserving of the Heritage St Marys Award.
photo from CSM website
And if location is everything in real estate… well, St Marys is a pretty amazing town, if you ask me.

Click on the CSM video to get a virtual tour.

4 comments:

OmegaPaw said...

Hi Anyès,

What a beautiful write up on Central School Manor. You are a gem to St. Marys.

The Dusty Victorian said...

Thank you Omega Paws,
CSM contributes to the survival, relevancy, growth and beauty of St Marys.
Anyes
xx

Mark Ruffner said...

Dear Anyes,

Mike and Ray have a tremendous vision, and I wish them all the best in this venture. The great architecture of St. Mary's School screams to be saved, and Mike and Ray deserve much credit for their effort. Do you know if the outside of the building require sandblasting or pressure washing?

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Mark,
I completely agree.
Here is Ray's answer to your question: no the exterior was in great shape when purchased. The school did a good job keeping it up....we just pressure washed the bottom a bit to clean off some dirt.

Always a pleasure,
Anyes
xx