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Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2017

Old school building once again holds for sale signs

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Jason Silvers/Tribune Photo The former home of Fort Scott Middle School now sits vacant awaiting a purchaser now that its current owner has decided it is not feasible to refurbish the building.
By Jason E. Silvers

The Fort Scott Tribune

The epic saga of the old Fort Scott Middle School building continues as the 90-year-old structure is once again up for sale.

Bolivar, Mo., native James Mayfield, a full-time commercial auctioneer who owns the 42,000-square-foot building located at 412 S. National Ave., said Tuesday that primarily because he does not live in Fort Scott or Bourbon County, he has not been able to devote the time necessary to convert the building into a new business.

"I just realized that I couldn't do what I wanted to do with it, so I've decided just to sell it," Mayfield said. "Of course, if I lived there, it wouldn't be up for sale."

Mayfield purchased the building from USD 234 last June for $45,000, and became the sole proprietor of the building after the sale. His original plan was to convert the building into an antique mall and auction center, and also offer the completed facility to community youth groups or special interest groups in the area.

Last June, the USD 234 Board of Education accepted Mayfield's bid over a $75,000 bid by Connecticut businessman Robert Gbobaniyi, whose contract with the district went into default after Gbobaniyi failed to close on the sale by the scheduled date. Gbobaniyi's plan was to convert the building into a senior citizen housing complex.

Early last year, a few other developers other than Gbobaniyi had taken an interest in the building, but were unable to finalize a contract with the district.

Other various proposals for the building, which has sat vacant since 1999, have been considered over the years, including a recent plan by an Iowa-based research company to move a research laboratory into the building. The building has also been considered as a possible site to house business offices and indoor storage units, but in nearly 10 years, nothing has come to fruition.

Mayfield said he believes it will take a person, group or business outside Fort Scott and Bourbon County to make an investment on the building.

"If a fellow had some ideas, a person could go in there and make some good money," he said. "It's going to take someone outside of Fort Scott with a vision to take an interest in that building."

Portions of the old building are still used for district storage, per Mayfield's contract with the district, while another part is used as a carpentry wood shop. The sale of the building did not include an annexed portion that contains a gymnasium and a district learning center.

Mayfield said the building is still in relatively good condition, and still contains strong walls, good utility systems, and fireproof doors that students and teachers once used to enter and leave classrooms each day during the school year when the building operated as a middle school for 6th-8th grade students.

"I think it's one of the strongest, most secured buildings in Fort Scott," Mayfield said.

The four-story building also features a tower, another gymnasium and an auditorium with stage that Mayfield said he and a crew of workers spent about two weeks remodeling last year, and an elevator. The building also features brand-new aluminum-clad windows and a new lifetime roof that were recently installed. Several tuck pointing and waterproofing projects have also recently taken place on many parts of the building, Mayfield said.

Mayfield added that he is currently accepting offers on the building, and that "any reasonable offer will be considered."

"I'm not trying to make a big profit on it," he said.

Mayfield said anyone who is interested in making an offer on the building may contact him at (417) 298-8888.

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To bad the city, especially a certain someone refuses to see the potential of this building as a city hall, with additional capabilities such as police station, community meeting rooms, etc.

I understand it is also something of an embarrasment for those who advocated abandoning this building as unusable to go back and look at it as something viable.

Pride and ego has kept a lot of good rational forward moving decisions from happening in town for years.

This building could be used for a new combined city hall,police station,meeting rooms,community tornado shelter,and I'm sure there are many other potential public uses for it as well.

What happened to the city of Fort Scott mission statement of "Preserving the past for the future" and why does it not seem to apply here with this solid,sound,architectually significant and historic building?

-- Posted by like2b_onree on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 10:33 AM


-- Posted by fortscottwatcher on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 2:03 PM

"It's going to take someone outside of Fort Scott with a vision to take an interest in that building."

Is he saying that no one in Fort Scott

has the money, or the intellect to make anything out of that building?

-- Posted by Riversdaughter on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 2:06 PM

I'm not that certain someone, am I? I can see if we have looked into it, but I'm pretty sure the cost to renovate that building into a city hub like that would be a lot higher than the other buildings that have been looked at by the city and Rick Zingre.

-- Posted by Nick Graham on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 10:21 PM


I'm pretty sure that you will hear exactly what you said you think you will hear from the city and Rick Zingre.

-- Posted by like2b_onree on Fri, Jun 6, 2008, at 7:49 PM

When brand new is a first cause, then remodeling old historically ends up being viewed as too costly.

-- Posted by like2b_onree on Fri, Jun 6, 2008, at 7:58 PM

I propose a new concept in Fort Scott. Let's call it the Phoenix Project. Let's help the City Government move into the old middle school to help revitalize this old building. I'm sure they can find grants like they did for downtown. We can give them a $1000.00 grant to start the project. Oh I forgot with this city government, what is good for the goose is not good for the gander. This is not my negative view. This is "do as we say and we will do what we want". We're the deciders, not the voters, seems to be this city's motto. Let's put this issue to a vote and hear from the taxpayers that will have to pay the high taxes for their plans to build a new building(s), and network them all together. ??

-- Posted by My_2_Cents on Sun, Jun 8, 2008, at 2:50 AM

something that should happen is all elected officials who have been involved in our city government for 10 years or more should be voted out of office and replaced with fresh people with new energy and fresh ideas.

-- Posted by like2b_onree on Sun, Jun 8, 2008, at 10:01 AM

Ideally they should gracefully "retire" and let some of the next generation of citizens step up to the plate. Maybe they will hit some home runs with all that new energy!

-- Posted by like2b_onree on Sun, Jun 8, 2008, at 10:08 AM

Hello Everyone, I am happy to say that my wife and I recently bought the school, we are from Fort Lauderdale Florida, and are looking forward to moving here, We are hoping to create an Art retreat, and art studios for artist, and for the residents of Fort Scott and the surrounding area.

We especially what to ask the Fort Scott residents what they would like to see done with the building, and what they would like to see as an improvement for the community. We feel like we want to be close to the community and close to the families and kids. Please help us make this happen.

We will be coming to town in about 2 weeks and will keep you posted with our project on our website.


Igor and Marie Vavrovsky

-- Posted by Igor27 on Fri, Mar 27, 2009, at 2:30 PM

I acctualy purchased a school building in KS. It started out as a great deal so it seemed. There was even an link to an old Forbs Magazine about how good KS is for Business.


I got ripped of big time. The County Ripped me off on taxes in the many many thousands of $. There was no laws to let me do a thing about it. Simply no laws on the books. I will not get into what the realator told me that was untrued and would have cost me many many more thousands. But most of what I am reading in these posts are a great dea of why I no longer have the building. AS much as I love that building I just cannot and will not put up with the fighting in the city officials and the county officials. The State had a rep only after I was out of the building and by the way I lost many more thousands on just letting it go. in the year or so that I owned it and was planing to move to it there were lots and lots of fighting in the city. A great deal of things were said about me from City counsel members that had never met me.

IT would have been nothing more than a constant fight. I had never even set foot in the building.

I wanted to move to the midwest. It is where my family is from . I have realtives in the area.

But not only the local gov. But the insurance was realy had to deal with. The Insurance laws made it also difficult to justify keeping the place and making it into a dream company location and home combination for two of my companies. Then the Tax laws were total out of control in KS. So insurcnce laws are differant and Tax laws are differant and not at all something I can live with. So I would not move to KS. IT is a real shame to. The state if it made some changes would grow. But it looses every year more and more.

I realy realy wish the state would change the insurance laws to be like other states and the tax laws as well. I realy would love to move myself and my companies there. But I just cannot deal and will not deal with such ridiculas and unfair tax and insurance laws. I also called Forbs and let them know that the artical about KS being business Freindly had some hiden problems and they need to redo the thing and add things such as builing insruance and unrealistic land and property taxes. What seemed like a bargan was a money pit. And the local Govt can make a good thing for everyone into a nightmar for evrey one.

Good luck for the folks of Fort Scott. I love KS.

But I cannot move my companys there or anywhere in KS for that matter.

IT is such a shame. The taxes could be greater if some laws were changed so the state would have more demand. IT is such a wonderfull place with dam good persons living there.


-- Posted by Jimmyjoejetter on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 9:34 AM

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