Middle School named to historic registers
Public meeting May 23 will explain senior apartment project
On May 4, the Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review approved the nomination of the Republic County Middle School building for inclusion in the State and National Historic Registers.
“This is an important step forward as we move closer to realization of our housing project in Belleville,” says Ross Freeman, Topeka. Freeman operates the Pioneer Group, a company that restores historic properties for other uses. Freeman said the Pioneer Group will learn May 17 whether their application for historic tax credits to help pay for the renovation of the properties will be approved. “The informal and preliminary information we have received is very positive and, based on that information, we have directed the architects and historic consultant to start the process of completing the plans and specifications to the point where we can file them with the State Historic Society and with our lender and tax credit syndicator,” Freeman said.
A public meeting is scheduled for May 23 at 7 p.m. at the RCMS auditorium to explain the project and to answer questions. “We remain optimistic we will be able to close on the required financing and commence construction before the end of September,” Freeman says.
Freeman grew up in Belleville. The USD 109 school board voted last year to transfer the Republic County Middle School property to Pioneer Group at the conclusion of the 2012-13 school year. The building on 18th ST was constructed as Belleville High School. It served as a middle school building for grades 5 through 7 for many years after the new Belleville High School (now Republic County High School) was constructed on P ST. The past several years, the building has served as classroom space for grades 5 and 6, after junior high students were moved to the high school campus. Next year the 5th grade classrooms will be at East Elementary, and 6th graders will move to the high school.