The previous owners of the Fort Scott Middle School gave up on their plans to turn it into an art center after partially renovated some of the rooms into a very modern looking apartment. The fate of the building has been uncertain for some time.
If you’ve driven by the old Fort Scott Middle School in the past few days, you’ve probably noticed a “Sold” sign in the yard. The property was purchased by Paul Feeney and his wife. Their goal is to turn the building into a large entertainment venue. They plan to start off with indoor electric race carts and eventually add a video arcade, rock climbing wall and a restaurant. They would also like to look at renovating the auditorium so it could be used for events.
Paul said it is a long term project, but they are moving to Fort Scott in the next few weeks and plan to live here full time. The initial attractions probably won’t open for two years because there is going to be a lot of work necessary to renovate the building to accomodate the planned changes and he is expecting some regulatory hurdles particularly concerning retrofitting an older building for handicap access.
The work will be self funded and they are not seeking for outside investors. However, they are open to partnering with local businesses. For example if a local restaurant was interested in opening a location in the building once the attractions are running, they would prefer to partner with an existing business rather than opening up competition. Paul said, “The last thing we want to do is to step on anyone’s toes.”
The big difference between some of the other failures in this type of building is that we are going to be in the town and living in the building. This isn’t going to be an offsite project done remotely. ~ Paul Feeney
Paul is 43 years old and a veteran of the automotive industry in California. He said his goal is for the project to support itself. He and his wife are very excited to being part of a smaller community like Fort Scott.
Here are some photos of the middle school from the real estate site where it was offered for sale. These pictures are several years old, so there has probably been some deterioration.