Old Middle School Vandalized

When Paul Feeney and his wife got to town last week to begin their project of turning the old middle school into a family entertainment location they found that the building wasn’t in the same condition they had left it. Vandals had broken in and gone through smashing most of the glass and spraying graffiti all over the walls. The floors were covered with broken glass and broken light bulbs.

There were quite a few things stolen as well including a nice weight machine and various equipment and tools. Many of the kitchen appliances were damaged and broken.  The vandals located some of the paint that had been stored by the previous owners and poured it out on the floor. A toilet had been pulled out of one of the rooms and thrown from the balcony in the auditorium.

Security cameras captured video of many of the miscreants and the police department is working on locating them.

All in all, it was a less than idea welcome to Fort Scott. Mr. Feeney said he briefly wondered if buying the building had been a big mistake, but after a few days of cleaning up the damage he is excited about the plans for the electric go-carts and other entertainment for the citizens of Fort Scott.

He still anticipates that the initial attractions should be opening in 2 or 3 years. The go carts will probably be put on the ground floor and the gym is the likely location for a climbing wall and possibly an indoor skateboard half-pipe.

He and his wife plan to live in the building and the tower in the center will be turned into an apartment with roof access and a great view of the city. Mr. Feeney said once he gets the glass cleaned up, his first priority is making sure the building is ready for winter and fixing any leaks in the roof that might lead to bigger problems later on. He said over all, the structure of the building seems pretty sound, but the roof has some leaks that need addressed–particularly in the center tower.

Another thing he is working on is getting a good inventory of what is actually in the building. He has found some unexpected surprises. There are a great number of what appears to be ceramic molds in what was once the cafeteria. It isn’t clear if those were put there by a previous owner or if they were part of the school. In a dark corner of the basement there are a number of canisters that appear to be rations and supplies from the cold war era.

The go carts that are planned for the building run on electric rechargeable batteries. Mr. Feeney expects the carts alone will cost somewhere around $200,000. He said his goal for the carts is to bring in enough to cover their operational costs and he is expecting to have a very hefty electric bill once things get going. He is less concerned about them bringing in enough to make money or even recover his initial investment.

Beyond the vandalism, there building has been left sitting for quite some time and is going to take some significant work. It appears that some previous owner may have removed much of the wiring to sell for scrap metal and the sump pumps in the boiler room haven’t been working so there is several feet of water in that area. There are many areas where the paint is peeling from the walls and plaster is falling off.

Despite all the work that is needed, Mr. Feeney’s enthusiasm is contagious and it is hard not to fall in love with the old building. Their goal of turning the school into an entertainment venue is going to require a lot of work, but it will be a great asset to the Fort Scott area and hopefully can serve as a model of what other communities can do with their large old buildings.

18 thoughts on “Old Middle School Vandalized”

  1. It is hard to find words to really express a thought on this. I can only come up with how sorry I am that this has happened and I hope they catch and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, the people that are responsible for this damage.

  2. If these ‘miscreants’ (I would just use criminals) are teens, I hope Mommy and Daddy have to cough up a LOT of cash, along with paying the attorney’s fees to represent them.

      1. Mark. This is the previous owner of the Fort Scott Middle School. I need to state clearly for legal reasons that the the building was purchased a drastically reduced rate as a result of the vandalism. MY husband Igor and I were victims of the crimes and our building and it’s property suffered for it. THe new owner first saw the building prior to the vandalism and discovered it on a second return visit with our realtor before going to contract. We suffered a tremendous financial loss as well as a loss in a dream that would never come to fruition. Because we were out of towners we were the last to know and we remain the last to know with all criminal proceedings. My husband Igor and I are good people and the building was purchased for less than a third of the asking price as a result of the crimes and the aftermath they left behind. It was mutually purchased in its vandalized state as we did not have the means to restore it or clean up the destruction. . Thank you for your time. Please do not hesitate to contact me should want to amend or share our side of the story.

  3. If they can not be identified by the video, it should be published so other people might be able to recognize them.

    1. That’s a good idea, but unfortunately I think there might be laws related to minors that would prevent that from happening.

      1. It would not surprise me if the ones that did it are not minors. After all, we don’t have a lot of this happening during the summer, do we?

        1. I certainly hope they are minors! If this is the type of stuff adults from are community do for fun then we are a lot worse off than I thought!

  4. I believe that if they are caught they should be physically and financially responsible for cleaning up the mess and maybe more hours of labor as community service on the building or jail time. Give them a time limit to finish their community service. It won’t be as much fun fixing something as it was destoying it but at least it may teach them a lesson.

    1. I agree and I think their parents should make them do that regardless of what the legal system does. If anyone knows who did this, please contact the police.

    2. I agree the people that did this should be punished. Also they should have to pay for the repairs and do all of the work ! It is terrible how people these days have NO RESPECT for other peoples property !

  5. Hi Everyone, I’m Paul, my wife Debby and I are the new owners of the middle school. This is just one of those things in life that happens. It’s a shame and I will be following up with the prosocuter to see if charges are filed. If it turns out to be kids that caused the damage, I think maybe their parents should be the ones that have to come spend some time cleaning up, that will make sure it doesn’t happen again. If it turns out to be young adults, then It needs to ba handled by the legal system. We have no ill feelings towards anyone over this. It’s just a building and just stuff. It can all be fixed and put back together. The only part that hurt was that first feeling of being “violated”. I was once a crazy young teenage boy myself (my wife might say that I still am), so I can easily see how this could happen. I think it was only a couple of “mis-guided kids” that probably brought some reluctant friends along and did most of the damage. As to stealing the dishwasher, microwave, weigt equipment, well that’s just downright criminal. No other way to say it. I wouldn’t do it to anyone, nor wish it upon anyone. At this point we’re just going to put all this behind us and move forward. This town has been wonderful to us so far and we’re NOT going to let this “speed bump” set us back. Thank You to everyone for all your support and we hope you’ll all enjoy what we’re planning as soon as we get it up and running. Paul & Debby Feeney

  6. The police are well aware of who did this damage and when it was done. They have known for almost 2 months now. I believe that several of those who were involved have been charged with crimes like burglary, criminal damage etc.

      1. My understanding is that breaking out all the glass happened between the time the Feeneys bought it and when they got here. They reported it to the police when they arrived last week.

  7. This is Igor and Marie Vavrovsky and we would like to clarify for the record. We are the previous owners of the Old Middle School and we suffered the vandalism of the property and and all of its furnishings, appliances, and craft equipment. We invested more than $40k in renovating the building in addition to paying $90k back in 2008. As a result of the extreme vandalism we were forced to sell our property for $55 K and WE suffered ALL the financial damages associated with the criminal activity. Its been more than one year and no reparations have been paid in acknowledgement of the crimes and it is on record that these vandals were and may still be repeat offenders. If anyone knows more regarding the case please contact Igor Vavrovsky.

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