If you open your senses and your mind at this weekend's open house, you might hear the echoes of happy children, their feet pounding through the hallways of the Old Midland School.
Deb Komitor and Mollie Plummer swear they've felt the benevolent presence of unseen spirits while working in the 12,000-square-foot west side structure, built in 1902. The former elementary school, which also has been a residence and a Catholic school, still draws former students from throughout the decades.
"It was a good part of people's history," says L Ducett, the building's owner and a civil engineer with Terra Nova Engineering, which rents space here.
Ducett bought the school in 2007 and has worked hard to restore it — from tin ceilings to hardwood floors — to its former glory. Her renters also include photographer Ric Helstrom, the Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Blessings of Faith ministry and Breakthrough Breathwork Meditation.
Komitor, a painter, and Plummer, a photographer, enjoyed their time renting studios at Cottonwood Center for the Arts but needed more space. "I was painting on top of painting on top of painting," Komitor says.
She wrote a wish list, drawing on musings she's had since the 1980s. The next day, she happened to connect with the school's leasing agent. "I saw the space and I thought, 'Oh my God, this is what I've always dreamed about.'"
That was February, and within a week, Komitor was in her dream studio — nearly three times the size of her old one. She sent an e-mail announcing her move; Plummer read it and went to check it out. She saw the classroom next to Komitor's, she remembers, "and I signed the lease the next day."
Ducett is preparing the last two spaces for rental, so you can check them out at the open house. There, visitors can talk with the building's artists, as well as the engineers, ministers and others, while partaking of food and drink.
"You can rent a space anywhere in town," she says, "but the energy and collaboration with the other tenants makes this place special."