City of Kasson 2005 Space Needs Study: The City of Kasson Contracted with Kane and Johnson Architects, Inc. in 2005 (Kasson’s council has reorganized since then) to create a master “Space Needs Study” plan for city facilities. Their plan dated March 3, 2005 states in part (see Page 3, Paragraph 5 in the file on this page):
“The reuse of the old Elementary School for City Hall and Library [functions] use would serve to preserve and restore a major piece of Kasson History! The location of this building is ideal for City Hall as well as Library use and off-street parking is available. The exterior of the building is in good condition considering its age and with minor work could be restored. The interior of the building would require major renovation but we anticipate that this could be more cost effective than construction of a new building on a new site.”
Comment: The City Hall or Library may or not be the ultimate reuse of the school (or portion thereof). In any case, the school clearly has a future within the community in one form or another. Kane and Johnson (K&J) is well respected within the historic preservation community. For example, they won the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota’s 2004 award for the exterior restoration of the Winona Court House. K&J is a regional expert in building restoration and preservation projects.
At the April 25, 2007 City Council meeting KARE members asked the City Council to re-engage Kane and Johnson to discuss historic preservation feasibility and financing options (Historic Tax credits, Housing authority funds, etc.). Prior to the meeting, experts had advised KARE that asking the city to consult with the Kane and Johnson, who had already evaluated the building, was a wise course of action.
The Council rejected this request and stated that they were moving forward with demolition in anticipation of constructing a new library on the site despite the fact that no plans, funding or approval for a new library exists.