The Kansas City school board agreed on the sales of two more closed buildings Wednesday night, striking another partnership with a charter school and advancing a new community center.
Hogan Preparatory Academy, the Swope Corridor Renaissance’s Upper Room and the Town Fork Creek and Blue Hills neighborhood associations all joined in the deals, bringing a roar of applause once the unanimous votes were cast.
The sales still have to be closed, but Hogan now expects to be able to expand its charter school program with the purchase of Pinkerton Elementary School, 6409 Agnes Ave.
And the neighborhood associations can carry on with plans for a community center at Graceland Elementary, 2803 E. 51st St.
The two buildings will restore important anchors in their communities, said Jerry McEvoy, executive director of the Upper Room.
The two neighborhoods around Graceland “will have a major identity,” he said.
By expanding into Pinkerton, Hogan Prep will now have a complete K-12 lineup among three buildings, Principal Danny Tipton said.
“This takes away our excuses,” Tipton said. “We will have a full feeder system.”
Kansas City school board President Airick Leonard West said the buyers represent successful programs that the district hoped would come forward to give closed schools new life.
“We’re not in the business of selling schools to needy charters,” he said. “Hogan has demonstrated performance.”
Likewise, the Upper Room’s after-school and summer tutoring programs, operated mostly in churches, have grown into strong community programs, he said.
“The reputation of the Upper Room in this community is stellar,” West said.
The district’s repurposing office, which started with 30 schools for lease or sale, is one-third of the way home in finding new uses for Kansas City schools. Two sales are complete with new tenants moved in, and Wednesday’s action brings the number of buildings under contract for sale to eight, said Shannon Jaax, director of the repurposing office.
Pinkerton, which closed in 2010, has been leased by the W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center, which in the past had lobbied to remain in the building. DuBois did not make an offer on Pinkerton, but will be presenting a proposal to reuse Moore Elementary School, Jaax said. The proposal for Moore is being presented today at 6 p.m. at Friendship Baptist Church, 3530 Chelsea Drive.
Hogan, for more than a decade, was a high school at 1221 E. Meyer Blvd. It recently expanded and added a middle school at the former St. Monica’s School at 58th Street and Michigan Avenue. In the 2013-2014 school year, Hogan will convert St. Monica’s to its new elementary school program and move its middle school into Pinkerton.