The 100-year-old former Paris High School was rehabilitated and converted into low-income senior housing after the City of Paris acquired the former high school, determined to preserve one of its oldest, largest and architecturally significant structures. Thanks to the successful collaboration between the City of Paris and the nonprofit Laborers’ Home Development Corp. (LHDC), Paris High School has been successfully converted into 42 beautiful low-income senior housing units. The project mixed old and new: the building’s exterior has been restored to reflect its 1920s original character and the interior features original school blackboards and lockers as well as needed modern amenities. Project leaders were committed to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility and the resulting housing development is fully ADA compliant and meets all Fair Housing laws. Named after the former high school’s mascot, Tiger Senior Apartments provides much needed affordable senior housing and signals an investment in the city’s history and local landmarks. More than half of the residents at Tiger Senior Apartments are former Paris High School students.

(Photo credit: J L Jordan Photography)


  • Mayor Craig Smith, City of Paris
  • Jayne Lourash, Laborers’ Home Development Corporation
  • Warren P. Wenzloff, Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen
  • Scott Righter, Blank, Wesselink, Cook & Associates, Inc.
  • Tim Erickson, Tony Segobiano, Dan Joos, Sr. & William Koss, CORE Construction of Illinois, Inc.
  • Edgar County Community Foundation
  • Francis & Associates
  • Laflin Design Group
  • John Cramer, MacRostie Historic Advisors, LLC
  • Heidi Wang, Albert Wang & Connor Chelmecki, WJW Architects


Mayor Craig Smith, City of Paris 

Like most all historic buildings, the former Paris High School, now Tiger Senior Apartments, is a link to the town’s past. The former high school served the community for over a century, so most of the population of Paris is familiar with the building and spent time in the school’s classrooms, auditorium and gymnasium as a student. The old Paris High School helps not only tell our story, but the stories of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents back to 1909. No matter where life took the graduates, as the former high school logo once said, “Once a Tiger, always a Tiger.” Paris residents are truly proud of their old high school, which sits prominently on South Main Street. The building was designed by Arthur Pillsbury, who was a major architect in Central Illinois. Along with the Edgar County Courthouse a few blocks away, the Paris High School is one of Paris’ oldest, largest and most architecturally significant buildings. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2019 as an outstanding example of the Classical Revival architectural style.

Along with the school rehabbed by LHDC, the National Register-listed complex includes a large, 1943 “Streamline Moderne” gymnasium that is currently closed. We hope that the success of Tiger Senior Apartments will draw attention to the 1943 WPA-built gymnasium next door and that it might also be reused. LHDC is proud to have played a role in ensuring this school building remains a Paris landmark for another century.

(Photo credit: J L Jordan Photography)


Mayor Craig Smith, City of Paris 

The City of Paris saw a vacant building repurposed and attention paid to its history and building stock. While doing so, the city was able to provide — through LHDC — affordable, independent housing for its seniors, allowing the aging population to stay in the community they’ve long called home. Without Tiger Senior Apartments, seniors would have to look to other communities for affordable housing options. The leasing process of Tiger Senior Apartments began during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore the majority of our marketing efforts were on social media. After viewing a video of the first floor and common spaces, the following comments were posted on social media by former students:

  • “Did anyone else tear up? This is way more amazing and nostalgic than I anticipated when it was first announced!”
  • “Way to go! And the biggest thanks for keeping as much ‘original’ as possible!”
  • “I am so proud of Paris for doing this. My heart is so happy!”

The first resident of Tiger Senior Apartments has a binder that holds printouts of photos he took of the building plans at the first meeting he attended when the project was announced. He studied the plans and chose his perspective units years before the doors opened. Knowing that the high school was going to be preserved and repurposed to a place in which he could live that was energy efficient, affordable and maintenance free, was more than he could have hoped for; more than the community thought possible when the leadership proposed building a new high school.

The construction of Tiger Senior Apartments employed an average of 25-30 people during the course of construction. Providing union wages and benefits to the area building trades members. This building is a part of everyone, and to see it brought back to life and not become just another memory was an iconic moment for this town. Since the doors to Tiger Senior Apartments have opened and the community has seen the results of the preservation of the historic building several community members have asked about other buildings in Paris. The old Paris Hotel, currently the Human Resource Center; the former Post Office building and the former elementary school.

Learn More About Tiger Senior Apartments

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