|Year(s) Listed: • 1998|
|City/Town: • Ottawa|
|Location Class: • School|
|Built: 1917, 1927 | Abandoned: 1996|
|Historic Designation: • National Register of Historic Places (October 6, 2000) • Register of Historic Kansas Places|
|Status: • Saved (2004)|
|Contributor: Kansas Preservation Alliance|
Photo BY: By Nja1985 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33751700
The Ottawa High School and Junior High School, located at 526 and 506 S. Main St. respectively, are the historic former high school and junior high school in Ottawa, Kansas. The high school was built in 1917, while the junior high school was built from 1927 to 1928; an enclosed hallway connecting the two buildings was built with the junior high school. The high school was the first school in Ottawa to be built solely as a high school and the eighth school built in Ottawa. George P. Washburn & Son designed the high school in the Collegiate Gothic style. When the junior high school was constructed ten years later, the firm, by then known as Washburn & Stookey, designed the building in the same style as the high school.
In 1966, a new high school was built for the upper three classes of students; the freshman class moved to the building in 1976, and the old high school and junior high school became Ottawa Middle School. The two buildings were connected by a multi-purpose room in the same year. The middle school later vacated the building.
Wednesday the Ottawa school board turned over keys to the old school buildings to a developer. Steve Foutch, who works with Kansas City-based Gastinger, Walker and Harden Architects, purchased the buildings from the school district for $100,000. Foutch also owns Allied Development and co-owns Foutch Construction,
Ottawa Supt. Jan Collins said selling the buildings was a relief. Several times, the school board voted to demolish the buildings, which in 1996 were condemned.
Foutch plans to put affordable housing for elderly in the south building, which should be available for people to live in next summer.
The Ottawa Suzuki Strings group also plans to be one of the main tenants in the south building, the site of the school’s 500-seat auditorium.
In the north building, Foutch said he planned for loft apartments, which will be sold at market rate, on the second and third floors. A gym with a walking track and lap pool also are part of the plan, he said.