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Springfield couple plans to turn a former school into a space for artists and writers to create

Kate Baird and Mike Stevens
Michele Skalicky
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Kate Baird and Mike Stevens who are working to open New Moon Studio Space at the former Doling School

New Moon Studio Space could open sometime in 2022.

A Springfield couple is working to turn an old school building on Springfield’s north side into a space for artists and other creative types.

"They'll be primarily visual artists, but also writers or anyone who needs a physical space to do their creative work," said artist, Kate Baird, who, along with her husband, Mike Stevens, are working to purchase the old Doling School on W. Atlantic from Springfield Public Schools for the New Moon Studio Space.

The building, constructed in 1916, would house private and shared studio spaces in a range of sizes that would be available for rent. Baird talked about the potential of the space as she walked up a set of stairs in the three-story building.

"So, kind of the reason why, or one of the main reasons why we're attracted to this space is that the old classrooms are these big, open, beautiful, sunny spaces that just seem like, if they're not going to be classrooms, they should be studios," said Baird.

Stevens, executive director of the Moxie, envisions the first floor to be a public space with offices for nonprofit arts organizations.

He said it’s going to take a good amount of work to turn their dream into reality.

"More than what we thought at the beginning," said Stevens.

"We're learning everyday," added Baird.

"We're learning everyday, yes," said Stevens. "It's going to take a lot of work. We have architects, Paragon Architecture's worked on other rehabs of SPS buildings, and then our contractor—they're kind of looking at it simultaneously, but they're kind of waiting on plans. But it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of money—more than we thought when we started for sure."

Foot warmers
Michele Skalicky
Foot warmers in a floor at the former Doling School in Springfield

They hope to keep as much of the original character of the building as possible, including vents in the floor that were used as foot warmers for school children, while modernizing the structure and bringing it up to code.

Find out more about the project at newmoonstudiospace.com.