Morrison School in Calumet resurrected into apartments

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Originally constructed in 1919 as the M. Morrison Elementary School, the school sat vacant for nearly two decades before Mike Lahti purchased the building in 2007. He then converted it to an apartment complex. This summer Lahti said garages will be built on the property.

CALUMET — The Morrison School in Calumet has new life as an apartment complex, after owner Mike Lahti had massive renovations completed to convert the former school into one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments in the summer of 2016. Since then, the complex has enjoyed full occupancy.

Lahti purchased the building, which had been unused for 18 years, in 2007 and had a new roof installed.

In 2013, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority awarded him a loan of $455,000 for the renovation of the building that is forgivable after five years.

When the building originally began advertising for leases, it contained 13 apartments, Lahti said, 51 percent of which initially were subsidized.

The building is compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), and features an apartment specifically designed for a tenant with disabilities.

Lahti said the initial 13 apartments leased quickly, prompting him to make additional renovations.

“We put in four more on the first floor,” Lahti said. “Basically we have 17, and there is a small commercial part where there is a pottery shop.”

Lahti, however, has not completed projects on the property yet, saying this summer, a number of garages will be constructed for tenant parking.

“There is room on the property for garages, and we’re judging where to put them by where tenants park in the winter,” said Lahti. “The closer to the building, the better. It hasn’t been decided yet where we’re going to put them.”

The three-story structure was built in 1919-20 on the site of the former Red Jacket/Franklin School. It was named after MacIntosh M. Morrison, a Calumet resident who was in upper-level manager with the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company.

Morrison funded the original construction of the school. Morrison was also on the School Board, and is thought to have been Company President James MacNaughton’s father-in-law.