The first school on the site, the Oxford Normal Institute, was built in 1848 The two-story brick Greek Revival style building on a high basement had a four-column temple front facing toward Main Street. A bell tower/cupola was located above the front pediment. The school functioned as a private academy until 1858, when the South Paris village school district took over its operation, using it for all grades
In 1883, the building was replaced with a larger Italianate style two-story brick school on the same site and was aptly named the Brick School. A subsequent renovation and expansion to accommodate the growing school population occurred in 1940 with the consolidation of students from the Main and Porter schools.
At this time the structure was extended to the north and south, hipped roof and cupola removed, and the exterior portions of the existing building re-clad in new brick to match the additions. As rebuilt and expanded, the school featured banks of tall windows in classrooms much as it looks today. The footprint of the 1883 building is retained in the basement plan and the granite top stones on the north foundation wall remain within the expanded foundation. Following the retirement of long-time Principal of the Brick School, Mildred M. Fox, the school was named in her honor in 1967.
The Fox School continued in use until 2008 when it was no longer needed by the South Paris school system. A charter school operated on site for a few years before the building became vacant. Subsequently it was acquired by Avesta Housing and opened in 2019 as an affordable housing property with 12 one bedroom and studio apartments. The large windows remain intact providing lots of sunlight and vista for its current residents.
Year Built 1849
Architect Silas Maxim
Architectural Style Low rise
Named After The school was renamed in 1967 to honor longtime principal Mildred M. Fox
Original Cost $3,642
Original Purpose Public School
Changes to Original Purpose
Historic Register Status Designated in 2017
Significant Changes to Property Current building was initially constructed in 1883, replacing the 1849 structure; expanded significantly to present size in 1940; long known simply as the Brick School, it was renamed in 1967 [2x check year] to honor a long-time teacher and principal, Mildred Fox [2x check — may have been a relative of Silas Maxim, original architect/builder]
Year Entered into Avesta’s Portfolio 2019
Changes Made Converted classrooms into apartments; added an elevator; changed all fixtures and finishes (lights, flooring, paints, etc.); modified hallway/circulation; relandscaped grounds
Cost of Renovation $3.2 million [2x check]
Intention Behind Renovation/Change of Use Provide safe, quality, affordable housing for seniors
Historical Features Maintained Exterior: facade, windows, entrances, flag pole
Interior: stairways, some doors, some trim, some chalkboards
How We Funded the Renovation LIHTC, Historic Tax Credits, MaineHousing construction loan, Federal Home Loan Bank AHP grant