March 27, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The century old former elementary school in northeast Kansas City, Mo., once destined for demolition will continue to stand, at least for the next six months.
In a 5-3 vote, the Kansas City school board decided to postpone a decision to demolish Thacher Elementary School after heated and heartfelt comments from community members and the grassroots group “Save Thacher, Save Our Schools.”
The school board wanted the vacant school located at 5008 Independence Ave., to be razed in time for the opening of Northeast Middle School, which is scheduled to open this August and sits on the same parcel of land as the former elementary school. If demolished, the land would be used for multi-purpose athletic fields and parking for the soon-to-open middle school.
After she unsuccessfully tried to get the issue stricken from the school board agenda indefinitely – a move that would have barred the current school board from discussing the issue during the remainder of its term – board member Marisol Montero got a little help from board member Gunner Hand, who propsed the six month stay of execution.
“I’m very please for the help from Gunner,” Montero said. “I think the community is pleased with that because it gives them breathing room to work.”
Before the vote, the board heard impassioned pleas from community members, including one who will soon step foot into the halls of Northeast Middle School. Courtney Skelton, 12-years-old and a Northeast resident, told the board to be creative with how its used, instead of tearing down a part of Northeast history.
“I just want them to save the school and not destroy it,” Skelton said.
Manny Abarca, one of the organizers of the grassroots group, said he was glad the group got more time.
“It was a fight, but we got time,” Abarca said. “I’m glad we were vocal. With the people’s help we got the time we needed.”