Plans Are Underway To Restore Pueblo’s Historic Keating School

January 4, 2021
The historic Keating School in Pueblo.The historic Keating School in Pueblo.Courtesy of Corinne Koehler
The historic Keating School in Pueblo.

Pueblo’s Keating School is now on both the National Register of Historic Places and the state's register. Plans are in the works to give new life to the nearly century-old brick building that’s been unused since 2009.

Six sandstone columns stand at the entrance to the Classical Revival-style building. Its varicolored masonry has diamond patterns.

“The whole building, inside and out, has had very little work done to it over the years," said Corinne Koehler, who leads Keating School, the non-profit group managing the project. "They have really preserved the historic aspects of the building."

The interior has terrazzo floors, glazed brick and marble accents, and a 600-plus seat auditorium with a plaster floral ornamented balcony and exposed beamed ceiling. 

“It is a beautiful theater,” Koehler said. “It has original light fixtures, the original seats. And so restoring that to its glory from the 1920s would be great.”

Plans call for a variety of small businesses, residential condominium units and community event spaces. Keating is walking distance from the Arkansas River and popular Union Avenue district.

For Koehler, the restoration of the building “really is going to add more to the historic aspect of the community, showing people these beautiful buildings that we have and the potential of what can be done to them,” she said.

Keating was built in 1927 and originally called Central Junior High School. According to the application materials submitted to the National Register of Historic Places, its construction was “associated with the national movement to establish intermediate schools." 

The nonprofit is in the process of buying the property from the school district. It'll likely be a year or so before renovations can get underway, and it could take about five years to complete the estimated $18 million redevelopment plan for the property. Funding will come from a variety of sources including grants and tax credits.