Old School Getting New Life as Charter School

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A school building that had been in the Kansas City, Missouri, School District for 80 years is finding a new life thanks to a charter school.

Pinkerton Elementary closed at the end of the school year in 2010, back when the district shut down 40 percent of its schools. Many of those school buildings have been sitting empty since then. But Pinkerton is about to be filled with kids again, as Hogan Schools bought it for more than $800,000 dollars, and they have some ambitious plans for the future.

Now that Superintendent Danny Tipton officially has the keys, he's excited to show off the new school: things like a bigger better kitchen facility, library and a huge gym, which means finally they can host home basketball games.

But there are problems like the leaky roof and air conditioner that needs to be replaced. But Tipton says Pinkerton was the gem.

"This was the best," he said, "we looked at several building and this was the best one we were able to locate and buy, and one of the only ones that wasn't vacant."

A community center rented the space after the district shut the school down. Tipton says after years of trying to buy KCPS buildings, he's pleased this finally happened.

"It's been much better working relationship than it was with previous administrations," Tipton says, "so that's amazing and we're thankful that they were willing to work with us."

Hogan wants to grow quickly. It started as a high school and opened a middle school just two years ago. Tipton says the high school was getting kids 3-4 grade levels behind so they wanted to start kids younger.

Now the plan is turn the middle school into the brand new Hogan Elementary School and move the middle school kids into Pinkerton.

"It would be awesome to start 100 kindergartners and graduate 100 seniors," Tipton says, "that's a little optimistic but that's our goal is try to do that."

Tipton says crews will work quickly over the next three months because he wants the school ready for kids in time for summer school.

"We've got to move we have kids that need help and we don't have time to waste," he said.

In addition to starting it's new elementary school, Hogan says it will also be able to have almost 100 more kids in its middle school at the old Pinkerton.

Open enrollment starts in March.

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