Mary D Stone Senior Apartments

Mary D Stone Senior Apartments is designed to address a shortage of affordable housing in Auburn, Massachusetts, a rural town of 16,830 people, while also preserving a beloved historic building. Mary D Stone Senior Apartments provides 55 affordable units for seniors 62 and older through the adaptive reuse of a 1920’s era school building and the construction of a modern addition. The development of Mary D Stone Senior Apartments increases the affordable housing stock in Auburn from 3.7% to 4.5%, making progress toward the statewide 10% goal for every community in Massachusetts.

The original Mary D Stone School is designed in the Colonial Revival style and was built in response to the economic growth and evolution of the town’s education system. The design of the expansion is inspired by the T shape form of the original 1927 building: the slope of the new roof continues the roof line of the original school building; the groupings of new windows echo its fenestration rhythm; the reddish-brown siding and dark gray metal roof complement the brick and slate roof of the original building. Many features of the original school are maintained and contribute to making it unique: the large former classrooms with their tall ceilings and oversized windows make for spacious one-bedroom apartments with lots of natural light. The original wood floors of the former classrooms have been refinished, and the slate chalkboards from the former classrooms are repurposed in the new lobby entrance to communicate messages to the resident community.

Designed with resident wellbeing at the forefront, the project’s green building initiatives and design elements exceed the building code and meet LEED for Homes Silver. Features include an energy-efficient envelope design, efficient all electric heat pump systems, sustainable site design such as native planting, permeable paving, and ample natural light throughout the building.

The Mary D Stone Senior Apartments is now home to several residents who are former students of the school. They stay connected to their community through the building’s proximity to town hall, the town library, and the Auburn Senior Center, which offers a range of activities. A pedestrian path gives residents easy access to a nearby playground and field where intergenerational activities take place. The project also includes shade trees and the installation of benches so residents can comfortably enjoy the outdoors.

Auburn, MA
Date of Completion:
Project Size (Sq. ft)
275,000 SF
Owner & Operator:
DiMella Shaffer
Interior Design Firm:
Builders Design
NEI General Contracting

The design of the expansion is inspired by the T shape form of the original 1927 school building. The slope of the new roof and the groupings of new windows match the roof slope and fenestration rhythm of the original school building.

The community room can be used for resident and town meetings that cannot take place in Town Hall due to accessibility issues. The building takes advantage of an outdoor field and playground located nearby and allows residents to partake in intergenerational activities.