Old Kirksville High School, Rotting

Update: The high school was finally demolished in the summer of 2019.

One of my favorite memories of senior year of college in the spring of 2000 was when a large group of art students gained permission to stage a giant art show within the abandoned walls of the old Kirksville High School. There was the most beautiful moss growing on many of the interior walls due to water seepage.

Almost thirteen years later, the windows are beginning to break, and since the roof had already failed before 2000, I can only imagine what the interior looks like now.

The high school is located just three blocks from Kirksville’s downtown; certainly there is a demand for at least apartments?

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Jan says:

    One would think that there would be some use for this building given its location. I am not in the Kirkwood area but what has the district been saying about this building all these years? I am just wondering if there has been any attempt to sell or redevelop the building in the past.

  2. Stephen says:

    I would have loved to see an art exhibit here. Its a shame that the school has sat there all this time, but with the Kirksville economy, no one is likely to buy and save this building.

    There are not many apartment rentals in Kirksville that actually take care of their units, only collecting rent and doing repairs when it is an unavoidable issues. I am a recent Truman graduate and know too many people who had issues with mold that landlords saw no reason to address. Even if someone would care and be good landlord and convert this high school into apartments, they would do it at a loss, because rent too low. It’s easy to find a bedroom at $200 a month next to campus. New, quality apartments wold not fit in, sadly.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      I agree that profit margins would be low; it would make perfect senior housing, since many no longer drive and would appreciate the short walk downtown.

  3. Jeff says:

    Wow, a wasted an under appreciated structure. I’m kind of surprised actually that the school district completely abandoned it. I’ve seen similar old high schools, like the one in downtown Wentzville, get integrated into more modern school campuses. Likely this one fell victim to its proximity to the university campus and the resulting lack of children! Maybe TSU would incorporate it one day.

    I think I voted there one year … do you remember that Chris, or am I thinking of another building?

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      You’re probably thinking of Benton(?) School, an elementary school on Normal and Halliburton. I think I voted there as well, before they closed it and opened the new mega elementary school on the edge of town.

      One problem with expansion was the lack of available open space to build new structures.

      1. Jeff says:

        I think Benton school is right. I remember it was on Normal and Halliburton.

        Funny the university never has trouble finding “open space” for new structures … or parking lots!

  4. Jacob says:

    I now live across the street from this building. The city recently voted to have it torn down, and the funds have been approved. A few weeks ago, they tore down one of the most historic buildings in Kirksville, The Miller Apartment building. Now they’re tearing the High School down. This building, constructed 99 years ago, was built with integrity and care. It’s a beautiful structure and I’m sure the brickwork is sound; therefore, why not promote it as a cheap buy for some St. Louis company to turn it into apartments? Why is the city going to spend over $200,000 just to demolish a large piece of Kirksville’s history? The local government here just doesn’t care about history; everything is money, money, money.

  5. Jennifer Finley says:

    Chris, I love your blog! I found it when I was living in STL, and still enjoy it as I live and work in Kirksville. However, I can attest that the old high school building is very much STILL standing. It’s in horrible condition, but it’s still here.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Yeah, reports of its demise seem premature!

  6. Jack says:

    I just went into that building today! I snuck in around 3:30 am. There is a lot of stuff in there. Unused clothes, ect. Simply amazing!

  7. Dakota McAfee says:

    Ok, so the issue with this building is the city has had someone assess it to try to bring it back to life, the quote was around 3-5 million dollars. And due to the age of this building it cannot be torn down to to the massive amount of asbestos used to build this building. So due to lack of funds that the city of kirksville has, we are at a stand still and it just sits there.

  8. david Payton says:

    I’m trying to find out what happened to the school I went to kindergarten at between 1960-1961. I’m sure it was on the north/east corner of W.Patterson and S.1st ST. all I see there on the Google map is a grassy area with trees. I can’t remember what the name of the school was, I remember it being a 2 story building, possibly 3 stories. We lived at 608 W. Patterson.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Mr. Payton, when I attended Truman State, the neighborhood grade schools were closed and consolidated into one grade school on the edge of town. I am fairly certain your former grade school was demolished and it was on the southeast corner (you can still see the staircases leading to nothing). I cannot remember the name of the school, but it might have been Patterson Elementary.

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