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Grant Elementary

Principal Shawna Smith stands in the halls of Grant Elementary in June 2017 as students and staff prepare to leave the building for the last time. Casper City Councilman Dallas Laird has expressed interest in buying the closed school.

Casper City Councilman Dallas Laird is interested in buying the vacant Grant Elementary and donating it to the Wyoming Rescue Mission, he said last week.

“I wanted to find out if it was worth buying and I wanted to see if somebody like the Rescue Mission would be able to run it for the homeless people,” he said. “That’s the idea behind it.”

Grant Elementary closed last June after 94 years as a Casper school. It and several other Natrona County School District buildings are slated for sale or demolition, and the district’s board held a public hearing last month to discuss the facilities. Officials’ plans for the buildings will now be sent to the state’s School Facilities Commission, which will approve or reject the district’s plan at its May meeting.

Laird said his plan is to buy the building and then donate it to an organization like the Rescue Mission for use as a homeless shelter. He said that, depending on the price, he may buy it himself.

Dennis Bay, the district’s executive director of business services, told the Star-Tribune that Grant has been appraised twice, per district policy. It’s valued at roughly $350,000. Officials have said in the past that Grant needs significant renovation work.

None of the other buildings that are slated for sale have been appraised. Last year, the school board sold the old Roosevelt High School building and the Fairgrounds Center.

Bay said Grant, located near 15th Street and Oakcrest Avenue, has received significant interest. He said a historical society and an individual looking at tearing it down and redeveloping it “into something” had contacted the district about the building.

Laird said he had approached school board chairwoman Rita Walsh about his interest in the building. He planned to discuss his plans during the public comment period at the school board’s next meeting.

“I think if it works, it’d be great,” he said. “A lot of ‘ifs, buts and what have you’ there.”

Follow education reporter Seth Klamann on Twitter @SethKlamann


Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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