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Watkins Glen High School

Primary Facade Before Rehab
Primary Facade After Rehab
South Elevation Before Rehab
South Elevation After Rehab
The auditorium was maintained in its full volume
Community Room with historic built-ins
Fireplace Classroom Before Rehab
Fireplace Classroom After Rehab
3rd Floor Hallway Before Rehab

Watkins Glen High School

900 North Decatur Street, Watkins Glen, NY

  • Date Built: 1929-1958
  • Total QREs: $11,660,000
  • Total HTCs: $5,830,000, Federal; $5,830,000 State.
  • Additional funding provided by Low Income Housing Tax Credits

Preservation Studios’ Role:

Preservation Studios completed the Part One, Two, and Three of the Historic Preservation Certification Applications as well as the National Register nomination.


Watkins Glen High School was built in 1929 to the southeast of the primary commercial district in Watkins Glen, NY. The three-story, reinforced concrete and steel building was designed by prominent Rochester architect, Carl C. Ade, in the Neoclassical style with an “H” shaped plan. The primary façade features a Greek Revival portico to the north, with the primary classrooms encompassing the central portion, before terminating in the projecting end bays at the south. The most notable change since the building was built was the secondary gymnasium and classrooms added in 1958 at the northeast corner of the building.

The school epitomizes the transformation in the Watkins Glen School District’s curriculum to more varied studies, as well as the role the school played in the community. The variety of classrooms, the large auditorium, and the two gymnasiums, represent how Watkins Glen High School was an anchor in the town, providing space not just for students, but for the entire town as well. These spaces also demonstrate the evolution of Watkins Glen’s curriculum to create a more diverse educational atmosphere, including art, music, sciences, performance, and exercise space.

The auditorium and both gymnasiums were completely intact and the full volume of the auditorium and original gymnasium were maintained as part of the rehabilitation. The classrooms were converted to new apartments and several storage rooms were utilized for new community meeting rooms. Many of the original built-in cabinets had been removed, but those that were present were left in place or relocated to other former classrooms as decorative items. The program additionally utilized the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program as administered by the NYS Homes and Community Renewal

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