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Officials hope to turn Duquesne Elementary into Community Center - KOAM TV 7

Officials hope to turn Duquesne Elementary into Community Center

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A Duquesne school that is now vacated could be transformed into a community center. A meeting to discuss the project makes some Duquesne officials hopeful.

The Duquesne Elementary school is full of history. The building was constructed in the 1920s. Many believe it is a staple in the community, and those with ties to the school's past hope transforming this building can bring everyone closer together.

"Honor the past. Embrace the present. Envision the future." Words that Janeil Bryan lives by everyday.

"Whether they grew up there, or they got their education in an 8 grade, 4 room school, they all break out in a big smile. And I think we have a lot of people in the Joplin area that will be really excited about the opportunities that building will give." she says.

Bryan was a student at Duquesne elementary before it was taken over by the Joplin School District in the 60's, now with the new Soaring Heights and Irving Elementary School, the building that sits along Duquesne Road remains vacant.

"It be a wonderful spot for Duquesne to have a community center. There's a lot of history in the building in the building, it has a walking trail, as well as playground equipment, and it may even include a storm shelter in the deal." says Duquesne Mayor, Dennis White.

According to White...back in the1960s when the Joplin School District took over the property, a gentleman's agreement may have taken place that the school property would revert to Duquesne ownership in the event of reorganization by the Joplin School District. White says there is no formal copy the city could find.

"Joplin's been real good working with us, and I approached Dr. Huff about a year ago with doing something for the school, and he said if they declare it as a surplus, he'd certainly consider it." White says.

Both White and Bryan were former students of Duquesne elementary, and Bryan's says her personal story is just one of many residents connected to the building over the years.

"We had hundreds of people who recognized our Joplin school needs after the storm. And this is a great opportunity, and I'm excited about it that we can start building for the future." Bryan says.

The Joplin Board of Education plans to declare the building as a surplus at their meeting later this month.

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