Redevelopment of the Marlborough School

The redevelopment of Marlborough School could serve as a long term example of what this community can achieve.  Many aspects of the Catalyst Plan have informed the approach to identify appropriate uses for the property, including the review of past community comments, new outreach to understand the priorities of all five Marlborough neighborhoods, assessing the condition of the building as well the review of environmental assessments, and infrastructure and landscape conditions on the site. Since any redevelopment efforts must be approved by the Kansas City Public Schools Repurposing Initiative (KCPSRI) and the School Board as well as the proximate community, representation from the Repurposing Initiative advised on the approach and provided past reports and analysis.

This once bustling elementary school has been empty since 2007. Maintenance of the building and grounds suffer from the abandonment and consequently have suffered water damage and become littered, overgrown, and vandalized, though the structure of the building appears to be in remarkably good condition given the time period of vacancy and roof leakage. Most visible damage is to finishes and building systems that would be replaced in any rehabilitation. There is likely some water damage to the masonry and/or terracotta tiles at roof parapets, however, in general the masonry appears to be in good condition.

Some of the strengths of this historic property are:

  • Spacious room layout
  • Unique historic interior and exterior details
  • Eligible for historic designation resulting in tax credit opportunities
  • Solid bones
  • Excellent location – close to the Troost MAX, and Marlborough Village, surrounded by KC Water Services green infrastructure improvements
  • Sizable parcel of land with space for additional construction projects that could create public frontage on 75th as well as outdoor community spaces for gardens and markets

Because of its location and iconic presence in the neighborhood, a sustainably planned redevelopment will serve to stimulate other development, such as housing renovation and new businesses in the area, much like the school did historically. The City’s Swope Area Plan, of which this community is a part, is also focused on neighborhood stabilization through public safety and quality education.  So, the community’s vision of this redevelopment as a complex mix of educational programs, including job training, community space with health programs, and shared office space is also cooperative with City programs to cultivate the intellectual, social, and physical well-being of a future thriving community.

The Marlborough School Redevelopment is one of the four Catalyst Projects identified through the community planning process. Community-based working groups also identified five related project and program opportunities to support the redevelopment process. Each of these opportunities plays a crucial role in paving the way to a vibrant and sustainable reuse of this historic building and grounds. Please click on the links to learn more about these projects and get involved in the exciting changes happening in Marlborough.

  1. Marketing plan for attracting partners
  2. Community graphic identity roll-out
  3. Mentorship programs
  4. Partner with the Blue Hills Community Services program to develop a small business incubator/training program
  5. Healthy food awareness and education hub

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