LCF Donates School Supplies to Resident Students

Lynchburg apartment building for the elderly gets $3 million facelift

The video at right is from The News & Advance website, showing the reconstruction at the Frank Roane Apartments, and with commentary from Connie Snavely. There will be a short advertisement before the 1:25 video.

News & Advance Logoby Justin Faulconer, March 16, 2015 ♦ 

For 35 years, the Frank Roane building at 900 Federal Street has provided apartment housing for Lynchburg residents ages 62 and older.

Work being done in the building.

Steve Patrick with Johnson’s Modern Electric works on installing the new electrical system to Frank Roane apartments on Federal Street on Monday. Photo by Jill Nance

The brick four-story structure in the heart of the city’s Federal Hill Historic District remains in solid shape, according to Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship leaders, but hasn’t had a makeover in its run as a low-income housing provider — until now. A $3.3 million renovation project kicked off in recent months to upgrade the 26-unit complex with a full slate of improvements. “It was in need of a major facelift,” said Connie Snavely, associate director of Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship, of the historic site. LCF provides housing and support programs for lower-income and disabled residents throughout Central Virginia and advocates for the underprivileged. Residents had to be temporarily relocated to other places with the nonprofit’s help while the work is ongoing and will return when it’s complete, Snavely said.

The Frank Roane apartment building

The Frank Roane apartments that are currently being renovated. Photo by Jill Nance

The building was constructed in 1899 as Lynchburg High School and later became Frank Roane Elementary School. In 1980, the property was converted into apartments. The building did not have central heating or cooling so baseboard heat and window air conditioning have been used, Snavely said. The improvements include central heating and ventilation and reworked windows, among others. Roll-in showers, wider doors, “grab bars,” lower cabinets and larger bathrooms are among features Snavely said will make the building easier to use for disabled tenants and their guests. “We’re making all the apartments accessible,” said John Fritts, project superintendent of North Carolina-based Davie Construction Co. The renovation is being done through low-income tax credits and state and federal tax credits, Snavely said. The National Park Service, a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior, will look over the work when it is completed and the Virginia Housing Development Authority is deeply involved in oversight. A new sprinkler system, kitchens, cabinets, bathroom fixtures, an elevator upgrade and energy efficient appliances are part of the revamp. The majority of apartments will meet universal design requirements in an effort to make the site more “user friendly,” Snavely said. Certain energy efficient guidelines will be met in the renovation. Residents will find their electric bills decreasing by a third to nearly half with the improvements, she said. “They are more comfortable, whether it be winter or summer,” Snavely said. Fritts said the work is targeted for completion in July. About 40 workers, from plumbers to electricians, are on site in a given day, he said. During a walkthrough Monday, Snavely pointed out differences in layout from room to room. “You don’t end up with all the same cookie cutter apartments,” she said. The renovation will not alter the site’s strict purpose to serve the elderly and only enhances that mission, Snavely said. “We want our housing to be the best it can be.”

Contact Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5556 or by email. Find him on Twitter: @jrfaulconer. On Facebook: The News & Advance City Beat.

Renovations at Lynchburg’s Shalom Apartments complete

News & Advance LogoAlicia Petska | Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 ♦

Mixed into the sedate browns and grays that decorate Sherika Poindexter’s home are four pops of eye-catching blue — new placemats the mother of two bought to celebrate their new apartment.

“I want to get some curtains, too,” she said as she sized up the living/dining room. “I need to get some more blue.”

Sherika and Joy Poindexter

Sherika Poindexter helps her daughter Joy, 5, tie her shoes in her bedroom at Shalom Apartments in Lynchburg, Va. on June 4, 2014. Poindexter and her family moved back into their renovated apartment this spring after The Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship, a local non-profit housing group, completed remodeling the apartments for low-income tenants. (Photo by Autumn Parry)

Poindexter and her daughters, ages 5 and 8, for years have lived at Shalom Apartments, an affordable housing complex owned by local nonprofit Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship.

This year, the 46-­unit development underwent a top-to-­bottom renovation – its first in decades. The $3.5 million overhaul brought in new roofing, wiring, floors, windows, and all new energy-­efficient fixtures.

“Everything is new,” said Connie Snavely, associate director of Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship. The renovation is part of a larger push the nonprofit is making to fix up its oldest properties. In 2011, it renovated the circa-­1911 Lynchburg High Apartment buildings.

Last week, it received word it was approved for low-­income housing tax credits to forge ahead with improvements at Frank Roane Apartments, a development serving elderly tenants.

Low-­income housing tax credits were used at Shalom Apartments on Federal Street along with Virginia Housing Development Authority financing.

Sherika Poindexter

Sherika Poindexter cleans her kitchen table in her apartment at Shalom Apartments in Lynchburg, Va. on June 4, 2014. Poindexter and her family moved back into their renovated apartment this spring after The Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship, a local non-profit housing group, completed remodeling the apartments for low-income tenants. (Photo by Autumn Parry)

The Shalom Apartments work — which wrapped at the end of May after about six months of construction — both refurbished outdated facilities and introduced new cost-­cutting fixtures expected to help tenants save on their utility bills.

The renovations were done to the standards of EarthCraft, a green building group. Lynchburg High tenants saw anywhere from a 20 to 60 percent drop in their monthly bills after the renovations. Old baseboard heaters and drafty windows have been replaced with central heat / air and new airtight windows. The wiring and plumbing in all five buildings comprising the Shalom Apartments also were redone.

“It’s going to be a drastic improvement,” Snavely said. “… It’s hard to believe six months ago we were just getting started, and here we are.”

The renovation retrofitted five apartments to make them ADA-­compliant, a goal long thought unreachable because of the heavily staircase-­dependent design of the development. Until now, Shalom Apartments had no ADA units. The five created in this renovation line the back of the property on the Harrison Street side of the block.

Crews created new entrances to the apartments from Harrison Street and added sidewalks and ramps with handrails. Three units already have been rented out.

Some finishing work still is needed at the apartment complex, including completing an ADA parking lot and rebuilding a playground.

Poindexter said she and her daughters — who got matching pink­-and-­purple bedspreads to celebrate – love their new fixed-­up apartment. “It’s really nice,” she said. “Me and my kids have a roof over our heads. Everything is good.”

Shalom Apartments gets energy-friendly makeover

News & Advance LogoAlicia Petska | Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 ♦

The Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship, a nonprofit housing group, has launched a project that will create better and less costly living quarters for 46 low-income tenants.

James Vaught

James Vaught finishes rewiring a bedroom at Shalom Apartments in Lynchburg, Va., January 7, 2013. (Photo by Parker Michels-Boyce / The News & Advance)

The organization is doing a $3.5 million head-­to­-toe renovation of Shalom Apartments on Federal Street property it’s owned for more than four decades. The undertaking is part of a larger multi-­property renovation plan the Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship has been pursuing.

In 2011, it did a similar overhaul of Lynchburg High Apartments, a 70-­unit complex. The project includes energy-­efficiency upgrades. When those upgrades were in the Lynchburg High Apartments, electric bills for tenants have dropped by between 19 and 57 percent, according to the agency.

“It can be just a 180­-degree improvement,” said Connie Snavely, associate director of Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship. The earth-­friendly upgrades range from using energy-­efficient appliances and heating systems to replacing old drafty windows.

At Shalom Apartments, baseboard heating systems will be discarded in favor of modern central heating and air, Snavely said. “Baseboard heat is not energy-­efficient, especially when the heater is right under a window that is already leaky,” Snavely said. “We’re really excited about this project. … Our goal is to provide the best affordable housing we can, and in order to do that, we needed these renovations.” The project is set to be complete by June 30.

Shalom Apartments

Shalom Apartments is undergoing major upgrades and renovations in Lynchburg, Va., January 7, 2014. (Photo by Parker Michels-Boyce / The News & Advance)

Five apartments will be converted to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Previously, Shalom Apartments had no ADA compliant units.

The renovation is funded primarily by low­-income housing tax credits. Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship also will take out a loan through the Virginia Housing Development Authority to cover part of the cost. The fellowship next hopes to renovate the Frank Roane Apartments on Federal Street.

Sandra Davenport, a tenant at Lynchburg High Apartments, said her utility expenses have dropped substantially since the renovation. “Especially for this time of year,” she said. “Before, in January, I would be paying anywhere from $80 to $100 some dollars. But now, the last bill I received was for $60. “That’s very significant for me, because I’m on a fixed income.”

Davenport, 59, has lived at Lynchburg High for five years. She said the refurbishment made it “just a more pleasant place.” “When we had that cold weather (due to the polar vortex), I couldn’t feel any air coming in through the windows or doors or anything,” she said. “The new heating and air system is really amazing. I didn’t know how cold it was outside until someone told me.”

The renovation of this 46-­unit housing development includes new roofing, flooring, plumbing, wiring, fixtures, and windows. The development serves tenants who are classified as low to extremely low income by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

For more information, contact Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship at (434) 847-­9059 or

Lynchburg High is home again after much-needed upgrades

News & Advance LogoAlicia Petska | Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 ♦

Connie Snavely of Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship opens the door Friday for Sandra Davenport to see her newly renovated home in the Lynchburg High Apartment complex.

When Sandra Davenport laid eyes on the new carpeting and gleaming new appliances in her Lynchburg apartment, it was like she had won the lottery.

Sandra Davenport

Connie Snavely of Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship opens the door Friday for Sandra Davenport to see her newly renovated home in the Lynchburg High Apartment complex.

“Oh, wow,” she said, her voice growing from a whisper to a whoop as she took in more and more of the renovations. “Oh, wow! Oh my goodness!”

“I don’t believe this,” she said, her eyes filling with tears. “I don’t believe this.”

Davenport, 56, is among a group of tenants at Lynchburg High Apartments who are about to start moving into newly renovated digs.

Lynchburg High, a subsidized housing development run by the nonprofit Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship, is in the midst of an $8.9 million overhaul. Improvements include all new energy-efficient fixtures, central heating and air, additional security measures and brand-new flooring and windows.

“Basically, everything is new,” explained Connie Snavely, associate director for the fellowship.
Lynchburg High, a circa-1911 structure built on the city’s highest hill, was originally a high school. Today, it’s a 70-unit apartment complex serving low-income families, the elderly and the disabled.

This is the first significant renovation the building has undergone since it was converted into housing in the 1970s. The work is being funded with a mix of tax credits, stimulus money and a Virginia Housing Development Authority loan.

Sandra Davenport

Sanda Davenport tears up when taking her first tour Friday of her newly renovated home at the Lynchburg High Apartments.

Snavely said the upgrades, which are being certified by the green building organization EarthCraft, will both cut back on energy costs and improve residents’ overall quality of life.

Simple amenities such as central air and dishwashers were previously unheard-of luxuries within Lynchburg High. New flooring and paint have also given the complex a brighter, fresher feel.

Davenport, who has been living in the building for three years, grew emotional when introduced to her revamped apartment on Friday.

“This is great,” she said tearfully. “… I did not imagine anything like this. I don’t know what I expected, but this was not it.”

Davenport, who is on disability, said she spends most of her time at home, making the renovation particularly significant for her. “I’m a homebody,” she said. “I love being at home. That’s why this is so emotional for me.”

Davenport was temporarily relocated by the fellowship last December along with about 30 other residents whose apartments were part of the first phase of construction.

That phase is now complete, and tenants will be able to start moving back in on Monday. Davenport said she can’t wait.

John Sparrow, Lynchburg High’s facilities manager, couldn’t help but smile when he saw how thrilled Davenport was with her new apartment.

“All we can say is,’ welcome home,’” he told with her a grin.

“All I can say is, thank you very much,” she replied.

Renovations begin at aging Lynchburg High Apartments

News & Advance LogoAlicia Petska | Posted: Monday, January 10, 2011 ♦

Lynchburg High Apartments, a subsidized housing development that rests on the highest point in the city, is getting its first major renovation in three decades.

The building, a circa-1911 structure on Park Avenue that was originally a high school, started undergoing an intensive $8.9 million overhaul last week.

Lynchburg High Apartments

The first phase of renovations is beginning at Lynchburg High Apartments, a 70-unit complex for low-income, elderly and disabled residents on Park Avenue. The century-old building has not undergone improvements since it was converted from a high school 30 in 1979.

The project, funded by a combination of tax credits, stimulus money and a Virginia Housing Development Authority loan, is scheduled for completion by the end of the year. Improvements will include new fixtures and appliances, central heating and air, and conversion of some apartments to meet modern Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

“A lot of this has been geared toward making our residents more comfortable and keeping their energy costs down,” said Connie Snavely, associate director of the nonprofit Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship, which owns and manages the building.

“Just being able to provide energy-­efficient appliances and heating and cooling is major,” she said. “It’s going to be very beneficial for our residents and for us in the long run.”

E. C. Jarvis

E.C. Jarvis, of Franzie Electric, takes out old wiring in Lynchburg High Apartments, which are in the first phase of renovation. The building on Park Avenue was built in 1911 and was originally a high school. (Photo by Jill Nance)

Lynchburg High, which offers panoramic views of downtown from its top floor, operated as a public high school until the 1970s. It was sold to Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship and later converted into housing in 1979, according to newspaper archives.

Today, the 70-­unit complex serves low-­income families and the elderly and disabled. The renovation now under way is the first significant work that has been done on the building in the last 30 years.

The renovated apartments will have Energy Star appliances and central heating and cooling in place of a system of baseboard heaters and window air­-conditioning units that is currently used. Crews will also overhaul the building’s lone elevator and convert existing four-­bedroom units into smaller two-bedroom units to better meet current tenant needs.

Work on Lynchburg High Apartments

Money for the renovations at Lynchburg High Apartments came from stimulus funds, tax credits and a loan from the Virginia Housing Development Authority. The work is scheduled to be finished by the end of this year. (Photo by Jill Nance)

Lynchburg High will temporarily relocate its residents in phases throughout the renovation. Late last year, officials moved out 32 people in just 11 days to prepare for the first stage of construction. The moving company Two Guys and a Truck provided its services at a discounted rate.

Most tenants were moved into other Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship properties, although some who have special needs were temporarily placed with other agencies. Officials hope their apartments at Lynchburg High will be finished and ready for occupancy again by the end of June.

“We’re on a very, very tight time schedule, but everyone is already working away,” Snavely said. “They’ve hit the ground running.”

Residents are excited about the upcoming changes, Snavely added. “People are already telling us they can’t wait to get back to their apartments,” she said. “… This has been long overdue.”