CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A historic school in Charleston’s Eastside will soon be called home by hundreds.

The vacant Henry P. Archer School building on Nassau St. is being re-developed into affordable housing called the Archer School Apartments. The 89-unit complex will be rented out to people 55 and older who are at or below 60% of the area median income.

“It allows folks that have grown up in this neighborhood and this part of the city, to be able to afford to live here,” said Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg.

On Wednesday, the nonprofit Humanities Foundation and other partners behind the $42 million project came together to celebrate the official start of construction.

 “Charleston sets the trend that affordable housing doesn’t need to be shabby or second rate. It can be first-class. It can be beautiful,” said Tecklenburg.

The Archer School has been part of Charleston’s history since 1935. African American students studied there during segregation, and civil rights activist Septima Clark even taught there.

As the building transitions into its new chapter, it will include a nod to the past with a picture project by a local photographer.

“What we’re going to do is have Jack Alterman take portraits of alumni that attended the Archer School,” said Tracy Doran, the president of Humanities Foundation. “We will have those displayed in our common areas and dedicate that to the alumni of the Archer School.”

Construction is expected to be completed in 2024.