The P.R. Mallory Campus has been an integral part of both Indiana’s history as well as our nation’s for nearly 100 years. Located in Indianapolis, Indiana, the P.R. Mallory Company, most notably known for its invention of the Duracell Battery, served as the epicenter for employment and economic growth for the Near Eastside community for half a century. Their pivotal role in the production of national defense materials during World War II, along with their invention of a variety of ubiquitous household items, has helped solidify the site as a national landmark. After sitting vacant for 30 years, the P.R. Mallory Campus has been rehabilitated by way of the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HTC) into an education and sustainability-focused community designed to serve underrepresented students and create economic and environmental opportunities in the area. New tenants include Purdue Polytechnic High School, Paramount Englewood Junior High School and Uplift Produce.
A Brief History
The original P.R. Mallory Building was first constructed in the 1920s on a site formerly home to Washington Park (1900-1905), the original home of the Indianapolis Indians and Wonderland Amusement Park, which inhabited the campus for five years immediately following the baseball team’s relocation. The P.R. Mallory Company soon took over the expansive site, which served as the Company’s headquarters for 50 years. Specializing in electronics, electrochemistry and metallurgy, the visionary team invented and patented a number of household items we still use today, including radios, washing machines, refrigerators, automobiles, and even the Duracell battery. Among their most notable achievements is their role in the production of national defense materials during World War II. The P.R. Mallory Company played such an important part that they were awarded the Army-Navy “E” Award for four years straight.
About the Rehabilitation
The P.R. Mallory transformation called for the renovation of two buildings: the main 120,000-square-foot administration building and the 70,000- square-foot “Bunker Building.” The original buildings were designed in line with architectural styles specific to the early 20th century. The main building’s interpretation of the “Daylight Factory” style, common in the era’s industrial developments, allowed for natural light and fresh air to permeate the building. In order to maintain the historic fabric of the property, many of the unique design elements were preserved. Among those left intact were the main entrance featuring double doors and terrazzo tile, original flooring in the lobby, and perhaps most impressively, the original 206 windows that filled the former factory with natural light.
The New P.R. Mallory Campus
The main building is now home to Purdue Polytechnic High School and the Paramount School of Excellence, Paramount Englewood. The “Bunker Building” now houses Uplift Produce, a hydroponic growing operation, and plans are in place for Purdue Robotics to move in next. A large sign was created and placed on-site, providing fast facts and anecdotes of the property’s storied past, emphasizing the idea that everyone who walks through the doors becomes a piece of its history. The completed project is equipped to house about 1,000 students from two schools in the administration building and approximately 110 full-time employees across the site.
Purdue Polytechnic High School
The Purdue Polytechnic High School is now one of three tuition-free, STEM-focused (science, technology, engineering and math) public charter schools in Indiana that provides a hands-on, project-based learning environment for students designed to prepare them for a successful future. The new location will provide a quality and stable setting for incoming students as well as the current student body who have experienced a bit of uncertainty in the past, beginning their academic journey at an old factory and studying at the Circle Centre Mall in downtown Indianapolis for the past two years. The school works to prepare students for their next chapter in life through industry projects, internships, dual-credit courses and technical certifications.
Paramount Englewood is a part of the Paramount Schools of Excellence Network serving students from grades 5-8. They employ an unconventional academic approach similar to that of Purdue Polytechnic, offering a curriculum that pairs technology with valuable teacher interaction and experiential learning programs.
Uplift Produce is an innovative farming initiative that moves into areas in need of sustainable recovery. Their unique indoor farming techniques will help restore the local community and stimulate the economy by providing jobs and resources necessary for revitalization.
The rehabilitation of the historic P.R. Mallory Campus opens doors for the Near Eastside community. This unique project offers significant benefits to the area, serving students who would likely not had the opportunity for such comprehensive and hands-on learning while, in the same breath, improving the community through their sustainable projects and programs. The cutting-edge research and revolutionary technology behind Uplift Produce directly supports each of the school’s curriculums by teaching and employing responsible farming practices designed to improve the health of both people and the environment. By rehabilitating the original P.R. Mallory site through the HTC rather than constructing a new development for tenants, both the property’s historical integrity and valuable resources were preserved. With new educational, economic and environmental opportunities in place, the Near Eastside community in Indianapolis, Indiana, can continue to advance and prosper.
Awards & Recognition
Since the rehabilitation, the P.R. Mallory Campus has garnered a great deal of praise and recognition for their successful adaptive reuse of the historic site and its role in the ongoing revitalization of the local community. Accolades include:
- AIA Indiana, Merit Award, Preservation/Adaptive Reuse, 2020
- Monumental Awards, Innovative Reuse, 2020
- Monumental Awards, Neighborhood Revitalization, 2020
- Monumental Awards Winner, 2020
About Englewood Community Development Corporation
Englewood Community Development Corporation (ECDC) formed in 1996 as an outgrowth of Englewood Christian Church. The ECDC strives to nurture and embody “love of neighbor” in the areas of affordable housing, economic development, and comprehensive community development on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis. They have developed, managed and sold multiple residential properties over the last 24 years as well as engaged in several commercial development projects.
About John Boner Neighborhood Centers
John Boner Neighborhood Centers (JBNC) has a deep and significant history of affordable housing and real estate development. JBNC currently owns and manages 215 units of affordable housing, in addition to raising capital funding and New Market Tax Credit financing for two different community centers. In total, JBNC has developed over $46 million dollars in real estate, both commercial and housing related.
About Schmidt Associates
Since 1976, Schmidt Associates has been creating functional and meaningful spaces that meet the complex needs of their communities and improving lives through design. The full-service architecture and engineering team provides the technical support and personal service necessary for their clients to find success in their projects.