SPS Announces Buyer for Former Hickory Hills School Site

By KOLR10 News , Lindsay Clein , Chris Eidson

Published 08/26 2014 01:46PM

Updated 08/26 2014 09:10PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. --  A national retailer expects to take over the former site of Springfield's Hickory Hills School.

Springfield Public Schools announced Tuesday that Menards will purchase the property for $4 million.

The process has certainly been lengthy for Springfield Public Schools and the board president says district leaders are thrilled to have a contract with Menards.

"We've been several years in the process of selling the property." says Springfield Public Schools Board of Education President Dr. Denise Fredrick.

Menards, a home improvement store, now has plans to fill the empty space.  The Springfield School Board approved the final contract with Menards August 12-- the home improvement center is expected to take over the hold Hickory Hills School property.

"It's an exciting time for us," says Dr. Fredrick.  "We've had to be patient and we've been persistant in hoping that we find the right buyer."

Menards signed the contract August 19-- closing on the property could occur as early as February.

"The most exciting thing is what we can do for students once we get this finalized and the money in the bank," says Dr. Fredrick.  "When you look at the purchase price of $4 million and think of what we can do with that, but we also have 25,000 students to consider and a lot of needs-- and every year when a budget comes forward, there are a number of projects very valid and that are needed that we aren't able to fund.  So we look forward to being able to look at some of those requests and moving forward with those."

Springfield traffic engineers say the diverging diamond placed there should not create any issues.

"We anticipated development to occur there where the DDI was placed," says Traffic Operations Engineer Martin Gugel.  "So with the improvements and what the development will do as part of their work-- we would not anticipate any traffic issues in that area."

District leaders say they're excited about the contract and they're ready to put the money to good use.

"We've spent a lot of time hoping and waiting for this time," says Dr. Fredrick.  "And certainly we will be very excited when February comes."

Menards is a chain of home improvement centers.  There are approximately 285 stores in 14 states.

The site was almost sold in 2012 to Larino Properties, LLC-- but the company backed out of the deal after the demolition of the school buildings.

Students moved from the former school to a new, energy-efficient building in 2010.

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