Jn. 18, 2019 –  As the Excelsior Springs School District continue their plans to demolish The Monterey Motel, some Excelsior Springs residents ask they consider other options. 

April Graham of Excelsior Springs spoke to the Excelsior Springs Board of Education Monday evening to request the Board’s decision for demolishing The Monterey be postponed until the summer to allow alternatives for the building to be explored. 

“It serves a need that we already have for a lower cost hotel option and it opens up the potential for a

The Monterey Motel sits vacant after its recent purchase by the school district as part of their school improvement plan.
BRIAN RICE -Staff Photo

partnership that would give our students access to career and professional development through the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute,” Graham said. 

She said this will better prepare students for management roles in hospitality and such skills are transferable to a variety of careers. 

Other alternatives Graham presented included a potential cost saving by combining Lewis and Westview Elementary schools. She said this could benefit current new students by helping to get them into a new school sooner. She also said ESSD could sell The Monterey and Lewis Elementary sites for redevelopment into a retro motel. She said the development would easily bring in over a million dollars in revenue to the community annually. 

She said the group of residents that wish to explore other opportunities for the site do not expect the school district to do this alone and would be willing to assist them in finding an investor. They looked at the long-range facility plan, she said, and believe more fiscally responsible opportunities exist that will provide better benefits for the school district and the community. 

After the meeting, Deputy Superintendent Jaret Tomlinson said the school district began working on their long-range facility plans approximately a year ago. He said they presented surveys to every person in the community to learn their thoughts regarding the future of the school district. They also advertised and hosted five different public forums for anyone to attend. They developed their plans, he said, with all the feedback provided by the Excelsior Springs community. 

“Everything with that facility plan has been geared toward what the people of the community tell us they want,” he said. 

The school district knows when developing a plan such as this, Tomlinson said, not everyone will be supportive. However, he said they looked at what the majority of the respondents wanted in their community and attempted to accommodate their wishes the best way they could for the school district. 

Excelsior Springs Police Chief, Clint Reno also spoke at the meeting in regard to the building’s demolition. He said the Excelsior Springs Police Department will support whatever the school district decides to do. However, because the site provided many problems for the community over the years and he said the department remains excited to see something being done with it. 

“I’ve been here 25 years now, I can tell you that one of the first problem places I learned about when I got on the force in Excelsior Springs was The Monterey Motel.” 

He said whether other opportunities exist or not, the ESPD expresses excitement the school district took ownership of the building. He said the department does not wish to go back to the way things have been at the location. 

Quoting Rick Harrison of Pawn Stars, Reno said, “Just because something’s old doesn’t mean it’s valuable.” 

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