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Selling Old School Buildings on the Agenda for KCMO Board of Education

Art Credit: KC Education Enterprise | Photo Credit: 123rf stock image | Logo Credit: Kansas City, Missouri School District

The Kansas City, Missouri School District’s Board of Education will meet Wednesday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to routine agenda items – such as purchasing food court furniture and renewing an agreement with Yellow Cab — board members will oversee the sale of district properties that are no longer in use.

Prospective buyers have made offers on four properties. School board approval is necessary before the deals can close. Under the terms of Missouri’s Sunshine Law, the district is not required to disclose financial details of real estate sales until they are final.

One developer has made offers on two buildings. Kansas City Sustainable Development Partners, LLC proposes to renovate Swinney Elementary School as medical offices and Blenheim as senior housing and a health clinic.  According to the district, Blenheim is eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places and Swinney might be with the removal of 1990s-era additions. Both are architectural examples of Progressive Era school buildings.

Swinney elementary c. 2007 | Photo Credit: KC Education Enterprise

Illustration Credit: Kansas City, Missouri School District

Illustration Credit: Kansas City, Missouri School District

Another developer has made an offer on Bingham Elementary. Waldo Partners, LLC, proposes to build a Hen House grocery store with a community room on the site. Neighborhood residents expressed interest in retaining the site as a school or at least for access to the athletic fields. However, according to district officials, the deteriorating building has adversely affected property values, and the cost of renovations would be prohibitive for developers. If it were renovated, Bingham would be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as an example of a Modern Era school building. In addition to including a community room in their plans, the owners of Waldo Partners have expressed interest in working with the district’s culinary program.

Illustration Credit: Kansas City, Missouri School District

A third developer has made an offer on West-Switzer & Switzer Annex. WHO/MBS Redevelopers, LLC, proposes to redevelop the site, possibly for low-income housing. This complex of multiple lots on the city’s West Side dates from the late 19th century. The development company has two organizers, One is the WestSide Housing Organization, a community development corporation primarily serving the Latino community. The other is McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc., a national for-profit developer of urban neighborhoods.

The Kansas City, Missouri school board meeting, which is open to the public, will take place in Suite 1009; 1211 McGee St.; Kansas City, MO 64106.


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About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.


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