ICS Celebrates Riverside Campaign Success - Herron High School
Herron High School Campus is currently closed. E-Learning will continue throughout the 2019-20 school year.
« Back to News & Announcements

ICS Celebrates Riverside Campaign Success

ICS, the network that includes award-winning Herron High School, successfully raises more than $3 million for adaptive re-use of historic Heslar Naval Armory as Riverside High School.

INDIANAPOLIS (April 17, 2018) – Indianapolis Classical Schools (ICS), the parent corporation of Herron High School and the newly-founded Riverside High School, has raised more than $3 million in private philanthropy to fund the renovations to transform the former Heslar Naval Armory into the permanent home of Riverside High School.

ICS targeted the facility as the site of its second campus over three years ago when replication of Herron High School was approved. Riverside High School, which opened this year in a temporary location, will grow to serve 600 students in grades 9-12 at peak capacity.

The total cost of the project is just over $10 million. In addition to private philanthropy, revenue for the project will come from a variety of sources: the United Northwest Area TIF Committee and the City authorized TIF funding, and historic and new market tax credit programs will generate over $4 million of equity toward the project. Indianapolis Classical Schools established a campaign goal of $2.9 million in private philanthropy that would make up the remaining portion of funds needed for renovations. It has received a number of large gifts, including a $1 million lead gift from the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation. Other major funders include the Louis Calder Foundation and Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF).

Having met the campaign goal, ICS will complete the project without any long-term debt but continues to raise funds for unmet needs, such as bleachers for the gymnasium, and for annual operating costs.


Riverside was founded in response to extraordinary demand at Herron High School, where each academic year begins with hundreds of students on the waiting list for enrollment. Riverside is a second campus of Herron High School, offering the same rigorous classical, liberal arts curriculum . The Armory, with its double gymnasium, provides new amenities that are unavailable at Herron High School and which will be shared by both schools. Riverside is currently accepting enrollment applications for freshmen and sophomores for the 2018-19 academic year.


Constructed in 1938 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, the Heslar Naval Armory is architecturally and historically significant. The Art Moderne structure was originally built as a training center for naval reservists. The Armory is “blast-proof” with exterior walls made of poured reinforced concrete. The building resembles a ship’s interior and includes a simulated navigation bridge, with actual hoists, lights, a magazine, battle telephones, a boiler room, a radio communications room, a ship’s ladder and a galley. It also includes an interior ship/submarine room that was flooded for training purposes. During World War II, the Armory served as a top-secret site for military leaders to gather and is believed to have hosted generals while they planned D-Day operations. In addition to the historical events that unfolded insidethe building’s walls, it is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing property to the Indianapolis Parks and Boulevards System.

The building was decommissioned in October 2015 and sat vacant until construction began in 2017.


Renovations to the historic structure began in July 2017. Construction, estimated to take a total of 10-12 months, is on track to be completed in June, in time for Riverside High School to move into its permanent home for the 2018-2019 school year. RATIO Architects completed an architectural assessment and developed blueprints in accordance with historical covenants.

Construction has modernized the facility and made it suitable for new use as a school while preserving its historical features. Other improvements increased the accessibility and safety of the building for students. Interior walls are now reconfigured to create enough classroom space to accommodate 600 students.