Fight Over Historic Kasson School Continues

Posted at: 05/06/2013 5:59 PM
By: Brittany Lewis

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The battle over what to do with a century old Kasson Public School building has been going on for at least five years. Monday, it continued in court as lawyers for both sides made their cases.

This hearing comes after three women filed a lawsuit against the City of Kasson. They believe the city’s plan to demolish the building violates the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act.

The building hasn’t been used in nearly a decade. The windows are boarded up, some broken. But for Mary Lou McClarroch, the building is much more than bricks and concrete.

"That's where I met my husband and we had been married almost 53 years,” she said.

But Mary-Lou wasn’t the only one sitting in the Dodge County Courthouse Monday, who wanted to save the building. The plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit declined to comment, but their lawyer says the city plan would violate the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act. Therefore, they say, the building should be re-used. 

"They're wanting to save this historic landmark. It's a building that has a lot of history in the city of Kasson,” said Anthony Moosbrugger, attorney for the plaintiffs.

"It's had its role in town. That's one of the reasons the city bought it. We understood that site as being a very important city center,” said Kasson Mayor Tim Tjossas.

The plaintiffs also say the city failed to follow through on an agreement involving the same building back in 2007.

"General crux of the agreement was to re-use the building. No efforts were made, if there was, it was very little efforts were made by the city,” said Moosbrugger.

"We feel strongly that we've gone through the process that there isn't a suitable re-use, but for a library and storm shelter that would be funded by FEMA,” said Tjossas.

But for Mary-Lou McClarroch, the real value of the building lies with its history.

“It means so much to Kasson. I think without the school, Kasson no longer really would be Kasson to me,” said McClarroch.