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Former Kingsland Elementary School to become wildflower park (video)

Lynn Schmeling, left, and partner Brenda Hulsizer are pictured at the Kingsland Elementary School demolition site in Spring Valley Tuesday, March 29, 2011. The couple plan on planting wild flowers on the site this summer after the site is cleared.

SPRING VALLEY — Where the minds of young children once blossomed, flowers will soon bloom.

Blooming Prairie farmer Lynn Schmeling took possession of the former Kingsland Elementary School building on Feb. 23. He purchased the property for just $1.

A demolition crew began tearing down the building on Tuesday. Once the property is cleared of debris, Schmeling plans to establish a wildflower park.

"It’s a pretty site, but there’s a lot of work to do between now and then," Schmeling said.


Schmeling became interested in purchasing the property after the school closed, but an asbestos study had to be completed first.

Kingsland business manager Kathy Beevers said the school last housed students in 2008.

"Sometimes when old schools are sold, they sit there empty, dilapidated with their windows broken out," Beevers said. "It’ll be hard to see the building go, but it will be better to see green space than an eyesore."

By selling the school, the district will save money on utilities and maintenance, Beevers said.

"We’ll be able to invest that money into our children," Beevers said. "We’re very pleased that the school has been sold."

The original school was built in 1949 and the district added to the building in 1962, Schmeling said. The property includes 3.8 acres.

"I’ve bought real estate from here to Florida, and I know a good deal when I see one. The school district was very good to work with, and they were intent on getting rid of (the building)," Schmeling said. "Most old schools contain asbestos, and some districts can’t afford to get rid of it."

In the coming days, the building will be knocked down and crushed into a product that can be used in road construction, Schmeling said. That work should be completed by May.


"We’ve been able to recycle almost everything in the school," Schmeling said.

Once the property is cleared, he’ll seed it down and wait for the grass and flowers to grow.

"My farm has a beautiful blend of wildflowers in the spring, and I hope to recreate that on top of the hill," Schmeling said.

Right now there’s a chain link fence around the property, but he might open it up so the public can walk through and enjoy it.

Eventually, he might turn around and sell the property, he said.

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