Grant School was built in 1922 and sits on 2 acres in Southern Illinois. The school closed down in 2000, but the huge building is now available for $199,900.
“I actually went to kindergarten there,” says listing agent Callie Brown, with H2 Realty Group. “Downstairs is in really great shape as far as the 10 classrooms and chalkboards. There’s tons of potential for lots of different projects. The upstairs is kind of stripped down.”
After the school closed, the 18,500-square-foot structure served as an office space and is now in use as a residence.
The former classrooms serve as bedrooms, and there’s a kitchen, a family bathroom with a shower and tub, and oodles of space. There’s no formal gymnasium, but plenty of areas for play.
The residents “have three boys that just have tons and tons of room for activities,” says Brown.
While all of the mechanicals are functioning, the building needs a lot of work.
“Some of the bathrooms still have their original stalls and urinals,” Brown says. The downstairs is prepped and ready to go for office space.
“The upstairs is kind of cleared. It has some of the original molding and tin ceilings that are really ornate and very valuable. I think there is a lot of potential,” she says. “We have had investors look at creating apartments, because there’s plenty of space for that. There’s plenty of parking. You could make a playground there.”
She thinks the former school could make a nice private school, office space, event space, or private residence.
No matter who buys the school, Brown hopes the buyer appreciates the work of Gene Alexander. Known as Mr. A, he was a former principal and town hero who died last year.
“Mr. A dedicated his whole life to kids and the education system. He went around to schools all over Southern Illinois and neighboring states and would paint United States maps on their playgrounds and on classroom walls. He did hundreds of them, and his first one is here on the concrete at the front of the school.”
Mr. A started painting his maps in 1991 and completed 384 maps on playgrounds in the area. Published reports say he painted the maps based on his fond memories of putting together a puzzle with his grandmother that helped him learn the states. He signed and numbered each map.
Mr. A personally paid teacher salaries when the district had financial troubles and bought books for the library, Brown adds. A bronze statue of Mr. A graces Benton’s town square.
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