McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

October 30, 2013

Former L'Ouverture school building soon to be on the market

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — The McAlester School Board has declared the former L’Ouverture school building in the city as surplus, which means the school board can divest itself of the property if the board so decides.

MPS had most recently used the school building for Key Academy, the alternative school for MPS, which has moved to the high school campus.

The move of Key Academy to the main school left the former L’Ouverture school building at 1400 E. Chickasaw Ave. empty.

“It’s not been used in a couple of years,” said MPS Superintendent Dr. Marsha Gore.

L’Ouverture opened in 1906, to serve the black community in McAlester, when the city was still part of Indian Territory. The first class graduated in 1910 and L’Ouverture closed in 1968.

“We’ve had several people come to us and say they are interested in buying the building and preserving the spirit of L’Ouverture,” Gore said.

The MPS board declared the building as surplus “because the building is in such disrepair,” the superintendent said.

Since it’s been empty, it’s also been burglarized, said Gore.

“We had someone break into it last year,” she said.

Due to leaks and other problems, only a limited part of the building was in use prior to moving Key Academy from the facility, according to Gore.

 “They were only using one or two rooms for Key Academy,” Gore said.

Although the school board declared the building as  surplus  effective Oct. 14, that didn’t mean it immediately became ready to sale.

“We’ve done an asbestos survey of the building,” Gore said Tuesday. “It will let us know where the asbestos is.”

Although the survey has been completed, MPS is waiting for a report on the results. MPS is also getting an appraisal of the property, Gore said.

She said MPS would not want to sell the building to anyone who would not be aware of any asbestos issues. However, she predicted the asbestos should not be a problem unless major renovations are conducted.

Once MPS has the asbestos report and property appraisal in hand, it shouldn’t take long to complete the next steps, according to Gore.

“We’re going to put it up for bid once we get the appraisal and asbestos report,” said Gore.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.