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What's next with Kasson school?

A Kansas-based development firm that had hoped to turn the old Kasson school building into affordable housing units, has backed away from the project, throwing the nearly 100-year-old building's future in doubt once again.

KASSON — The almost century-old school building may get another chance.

Kasson Alliance for Restoration received $45,000 in statewide grants from the Minnesota Historical Society to hire a qualified consultant to create a historic structure report that looks to preserve the Kasson Public School, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

More than $4.6 million in Historical and Cultural grants were awarded across Minnesota to 29 counties, who received amounts of $10,001 or more from Legacy Amendment funding in fiscal year 2017. Those grants are only awarded once each fiscal year, and are made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

Loraine Spading, a shareholder of the school and member of the KARE, said that the group was awarded the grant almost a month ago, and has been in contact with an individual who may be interested in the building.

"At the present time, our school is on the market," Spading said. "We have a Realtor from the metro area that deals with historic buildings who brought someone down to look at it. We're kind of at that point of waiting."


The Kasson Public School has been center to controversy among taxpayers. When Kasson originally purchased the building for $1 in hope of renovating the property, voters rejected a $3.9 million bond issue that would have financed the project, according to a previous story.

After the city decided to demolish the school, two citizens sued the city in 2013, which stalled the project even further. Since then, the building sat empty and was purchased by the 1918 Kasson Public School LLP, which paid Kasson $240,000 for it.

While Cohen-Esrey, a Kansas-based developer, was planning to create affordable housing out of the building, but the firm dropped out of the project.

If the potential developer is interested in purchasing the building, then he or she can have the $45,000 transferred over in order to assist with any part of the project, Spading explained. What's next in line for the school building is unknown.

"The important thing is at that point, we have been awarded it (the grant)," she said. "That's one of the bigger grants that's awarded to the buildings. It's more or less to stabilize the building with some needed repairs."

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