Community group gets one month extension to save former elementary school

Posted February 22, 2014 at 11:31 am

Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
Feb. 22, 2014

The “Save Thacher, Save Our Schools”, grassroots community group received some good news Saturday morning.

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At a rally the group staged in an effort to save the former Thacher Elementary School, 5008 Independence Ave., from demolition, Crispin Rea, vice-chair of the Kansas City School Board, told those in attendance the school board recently decided to provide the community group an extra month to continue to look for a viable re-use for the building. Through the Kansas City Public School District’s re-purposing process – which aims to marketing and selling vacant schools to the public for re-use – Rea said the school works with the community.

“Let’s take this next month and look at what opportunities we have,” Rea said. “I know there are some good ideas floating around. If there’s anything I can do whether it’s writing letters or reaching out to people, [I'll do].”

Through conversations he’s had with school district members, Rea said there isn’t a desire to leave the building standing indefinitely. In August, the school district will re-open the Northeast Middle School, which sits on the same property as the former elementary school. Rea pointed out the security risks the vacated building poses.

“For the time being, let’s take the opportunities now and capitalize on them and get something done with this building,” Rea said.

Around 10 a.m., supporters of saving the school gathered across the street at Children’s Memorial Lutheran Church. Several speakers passionately discussed the importance of the building and the history it brings to the Northeast community. The building, which has sat vacant since 2010, was named after Luin K. Thacher, who served on the Kansas City Board of Education from 1890-1894, the year of his death.