BEATRICE – The Beatrice City Council will hold a work session Monday night on the topic of two soon-to-be unused elementary school sites.
The six p.m. meeting precedes the council’s regular seven p.m. meeting. Mayor Bob Morgan says officials will get an update on possible future use of both the Lincoln and Paddock Lane Elementary sites.

"We really believe tha Lincoln Elementary site and the Paddock Lane site are probably primed for residential housing. We went out to JEO and put together what I would say is a concept of what each one of those housing developments would look like. I think between the two places, we're looking at maybe forty homes."

Many communities have a high demand for more housing, with fewer homes available on the market.  When the new Beatrice Public Schools prekindergarten to fifth grade single-site facility begins operating this coming school year, the city will take possession of the old school properties. That prompts some planning for what to do with them.

"If we're going to grow we need housing and those are pretty good properties. We're going to show the concepts that JEO developed for those two sites. I will say, I've had the opportunity to look at both of the sites on paper, and I think they did a really good job of laying out what I would call a planned community. I don't think it's just going to be rows and rows of houses. I think there's some really good concept and thought that went into it."

Morgan said the community could use more single-family homes or townhomes. He said one possibility is including a park area in the Lincoln Elementary School site, possibly with a water retention area.  A developer is already working on a project that involves the Stoddard Elementary School property.

"Hoppe (Development) is trying to work through Stoddard. The project we've seen from them will completely redo that old building. We feel really good about our connection with Hoppe and they're going to do a really good job. That's going to be a little bit more of senior housing, maybe 55 and above. It's going to look amazingly different. We feel really good that the three properties are going to help housing, in Beatrice."

Morgan says more study will be needed for the former Cedar School site in the west part of the city, where the Beatrice Community Preschool has been located. He says the overall size of the property has officials taking more time to consider possible future uses.

Lincoln Elementary