Joplin Schools Selling Excess Properties; Charity Buys Washingto - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Schools Selling Excess Properties; Charity Buys Washington School

Joplin, MO -

Nearly six years after the Joplin tornado, the school district has excess properties after rebuilding. A charity has plans to put one old school to new use.

The Washington School is ninety years old and has seen better days.
Alisha Richter, marketing director for S.O.S. Ministries said, "I think we have forty-five different windows that need to be replaced."
Demolishing the building would have cost two or three hundred thousand dollars so the school district sold it.
Laughing  Richter  said,  "We got the building from the Joplin school district for a whole dollar!"

S.O.S. Ministries started in 2014 with Aaron Garcia serving sandwiches on the streets of Joplin. But now, with the Washington Hope Center the charity wants to do more. It
s turning the old school into  a community center. In the old cafeteria Richter said, "This would be our rec room or rec center. Our whole goal is to turn this into a space where kids can come in here and play."

And it would be a place to learn. They hope fill the old library shelves with books to create a reading room.  Mentoring programs would be offered for kids and parenting classes for adults.
Richter said, "I think it can be a morale  booster and  it can help them achieve but we want to make sure we give them a safe place."
They've got funds for a security system but are raising dollars for security  doors for the entryway  and other building improvements. Washington was last used by Irving elementary after the tornado demolished that school. Its old lot has been sold for sixty-three thousand dollars to Sprouls construction out of Lamar and sits in a commercial zone.

For now the school  district is holding onto the lots of the old South middle school and Emerson elementary for possible future use.
Dr. Kerry Sachetta, assistant superintendent of operations said the district will soon form a facilities committee to look at properties and lots. He said, "Schools of the future, do we want to build up? Some of the properties are smaller, is it possible to go three stories?  And would we have room for play grounds and all those kinds of things. That
s what a facilities committee would want to look at before we decide to actually build on one."

And with the downtown YMCA closing, the goal for a restored Washington, even with its window air conditioners and steam heat, is  to meet a need of the neighborhood .

Richter explained, "We want to make sure that not only are we restoring hope in the community and showing the love of Christ, we want to make sure we are the anchor and the beacon for this area."


  Other properties for the facilities committee to consider.
include the Duquesne school which is used for storage now. Trailers at that site will soon go up for bid. The district is currently  taking bids on  mobile classrooms  at McKinley elementary which were  once used for early childhood classes. And the future of Duenweg school which is now used for early childhood is uncertain once the new preschool center is built on Maiden Lane.


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