NewsLocal News


Old Board of Education building to be demolished; some want art preserved

Board of Education building demolished
Murals Board of Education building
Posted at 4:42 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 19:07:23-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After years of sitting vacant, the old Board of Education building at East 12th Street and Grand Boulevard in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, will be demolished.

Developers Copaken Brooks bought the property in 2019. On Wednesday, orange fence surrounded the building, with demolition crews tearing pieces inside and out.

For years, Historic Kansas City fought to keep the building standing. The group placed the building on its "Most Endangered List" in 2019.

On Wednesday, Historic KC said in a statement that it "sadly acknowledges" the intended demolition of the building, which also served as the Kansas City Public Library's main branch before it was owned by the school district.

Historic KC said the building is an "outstanding example" of the international style of the modern movement.

The group also called for the preservation of the building's glass mosaic tile murals in consultation with the Kansas City Municipal Art Commission.

The city told 41 Action News that because the murals are located on private property, the decision on whether to preserve them rests with the developers. 41 Action News reached out to the developers for a response and have not heard back.

Meanwhile, some who work near the building said they wouldn’t mind having the piece of art on their building.

"I think they should move that mural and put it on the side of our building and make me really happy, and we’ll keep it right here where it belongs,” said Chuck McKeon, who works across the street.

Demolition of the building should be complete in the next few weeks.

Read the full statement from Historic KC below:

Historic Kansas City sadly acknowledges the intended demolition of the stately Board of Education Building located at 311 E. 12th St. by Copaken Brooks. The Board of Education Building has been vacant since the KCMSD moved offices to its current location. Before it was owned by the school district, the building served as the Kansas City Public Library's main branch. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and designed by Edward W. Tanner & Associates, this building is an outstanding example of the Modern Movement: International Style - specifically the influence of Miesian design.

Recent changes to the federal and Missouri historic tax credit programs contributed to thwart several renovation proposals. The historic structure would be demolished in connection with a proposal at 13th and Grand, which thus far remains a proposal. Historic Kansas City recognizes the need for Downtown to evolve and adapt to a changing set of office, retail, and economic circumstances. Circumstances may be changing dramatically even at the present moment. We are not adverse to development but want it to proceed in a manner that reflects the historic and scenic nature of the Civic Mall plan, that includes the three iconic art deco designed buildings, City Hall, Municipal Court and County Courthouse. One of Downtown’s strongest cultural attributes. Whatever the future holds for this site, any infill development proposal must be compatible with the Civic Mall plan. Further the colorful historic glass mosaic tile murals should be preserved in consultation with the Kansas City Municipal Art Commission.