David Hawes, Owner of Cullen Grimes Elementary, has a personal connection with this old elementary school in Mineral Wells, Texas. He was a student here as a child and has many fond memories at Cullen Grimes. Many of his family members also attended school here when it was still operational. “There is a lot of history in this building, it needs to be preserved.”
David has had people come in to remove rubble from a previous fire as well as clearing the floors to get it ready for renovations. Seventeen tons were removed from the building in the process. “Now we have a structure to work from.” A structural engineer from Houston came to inspect Cullen Grimes and deemed it structurally safe to move forward. The next step he is facing is looking over his options to make it a residential building. The central section of the building’s floors (the hallways) was constructed out of concrete, but the classrooms were wood flooring that suffered fire and water damage over the years. All of the wooden floors as well as the roof had to be removed to be replaced. In the building’s current stage, all of the classrooms are completely clear of flooring and roofing. It was an interesting experience to walk down halls and looking into classrooms that dropped off to the first floor.
Currently, David only plans to renovate the original section of the elementary school and the newer cafeteria section of the school which is in better shape than the original section. For some time now David has donated the use of the cafeteria to one of the local youth associations to utilize for volleyball and basketball as it has power, air conditioning, and is in good condition.
David is choosing to not take the historic tax credit route like what is being utilized for The Baker Hotel and The Crazy Water Hotel. “I don’t want to be constrained by the state or the federal government. I have enough care and concern for the historical character of the building.” David went on to share that his home here in Mineral Wells looks exactly like it did when it was built in 1957 but they completely modernized the features making it more energy-efficient and safer than its original build quality, some of which you are unable to do when getting a historical tax credit.
He is very admitted in wanting to make Cullen Grimes have its original character while still having the modern features we are so used to today in the goal of making it a desirable place to live in Mineral Wells when completed. When complete, he expects it to be a six-unit condo/apartment located near downtown Mineral Wells that will be full of character. This renovation is expected to take five years.
A short video will be released soon
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