Elementary schools’ future could include family housing

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Local News

October 23, 2018 - 11:39 AM

USD 257 board member Mary Apt, front left, accepts a check for $1,915.98 from G&W Foods Iola store manager Daniel Giles. The money comes from 1 percent of G&W grocery receipts turned in by local shoppers. The funds will be used to benefit school programs. REGISTER/VICKIE MOSS

A developer studying Iola’s elementary schools said it’s likely his group would be interested in converting two of Iola’s three buildings if voters eventually decide to build a new school.

Rudy Manes, a partner in Prairie Fire Development Group of Kansas City, Mo., told USD 257 board members Monday night he’s done more research on the project and believes both Lincoln and McKinley could be converted into housing, either for the elderly or for families. At a Sept. 24 meeting, he indicated the developers might pick just one building for use as elderly housing. He said studies show Iola has need for both and both schools would make feasible projects.

He also gave board members a rough idea of floor plans for the building, showing how classrooms could become one- or two-bedroom units. McKinley, for example, could have about 11 one-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units, mostly utilizing existing classrooms for each unit. As a one-floor building, it likely would work best as elderly housing.

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