Cape Girardeau County
The Jefferson School in Cape Girardeau was constructed in 1904 and is the oldest public school building still standing in this City. For some time before the court-ordered racial integration of schools in 1955, the Jefferson School also served as the only high school for African-American students. The Jefferson School is threatened by years of abandonment and neglect. During these years part of the roof has collapsed, exposing the building to the elements and deleterious effects of water infiltration. The building will need extensive repairs in addition to the roof. If these repairs are not completed in the near future, it will continue to collapse. The neighborhood in which the Jefferson School is located is near Southeast Missouri State University’s new River Campus, and there is also local concern that the building might be threatened by the University’s plans for real estate development. A local developer that is experienced in the reuse of school buildings has been identified, but due to the extremely poor condition, the developer is hesitant to purchase the building at its current asking price of $60,000.00.
Listed in 2011.
Update: In late 2011, the City of Cape Girardeau issued an order to remediate structural deficiencies at this building or demolish. Missouri Preservation worked with local liaisons to urge owners of this building to gift the building to a non-profit that might be interested in renovation. The Prodigy School received the building as a gift and initially planned to renovate it for use as an educational facility again. The new owners may be thinking about building new, so we are hoping they will decide to sell the building to another party for rehabilitation before deciding to demolish.