KC schools cut deal with learning center to fill old building

The W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center has found a home in the Kansas City Public Schools after all.

The private tutoring company Wednesday night became the latest tenant to win the school board’s approval to move into one of the district’s vacant school buildings.

Board members unanimously approved a lease with an option for the learning center to buy Milton Moore Elementary School at 4510 Linwood Blvd.

The deal put to rest fears that DuBois, which has been tutoring Kansas City children for nearly four decades, was going to find itself without a home.

It also finds a new use for Moore School, which previously had stood among those buildings that seem to be harder sells for the district.

Moore was built in 1915, “but it’s absolutely beautiful,” said Terri Barnes, the chairman of the board for DuBois Learning Center.

She and other leaders of the learning center were flushed with relief after being “in panic mode” earlier this year, Barnes said.

The learning center had been leasing the district’s Pinkerton Elementary School at 6409 Agnes Ave., but the district included Pinkerton in its list of buildings put into a community process to find buyers.

Hogan Preparatory Academy was looking to expand its charter school campus, and the community backed its recent proposal to buy Pinkerton.

But neither the district nor the partners with Hogan wanted to push DuBois into the street. The district worked with the center to identify another suitable building.

And the Swope Corridor Renaissance, which is collaborating with Hogan, is helping DuBois with its plans to move into Moore, Barnes said.

The district started the repurposing process two years ago with 30 buildings on its list.

So far two sales are complete and seven more are under contract. DuBois has its lease with the option to buy. And three viable offers for three other buildings are in negotiations, said Shannon Jaax, head of the district’s repurposing office.

One school that was under contract — Bingham Middle School at 7618 Wyandotte St. — is back in the mix after developers recently pulled out of a deal to put a Hen House grocery store on the site.

Other developers had been interested in the school, Jaax said. The district is holding a meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m. at Keystone United Methodist Church, 406 W. 74th St., to talk about options.