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GIPS Accepts Bid from YWCA to Sell the Wyandotte Building

Wyandotte Learning Center front facade with the YWCA logo in the upper right corner

May 10th, 2024

The future of the “Old Starr” building is in good hands.  The Grand Island Public Schools (GIPS) Board of Education unanimously voted, after an executive session, to accept the bid from YWCA Grand Island on the building currently known as the Wyandotte Learning Center.

Originally built in 1975 as the original Starr Elementary School, the 30,000 square foot building has enjoyed a rich history of learning and teaching.  Hit hard by the 1980 tornado, the school was rebuilt and has served in an educational function until Summer of 2024.

In March of 2024, GIPS announced its intention to sell the Wyandotte Learning Center building, the property, and the two modular facilities housed on the property.

For the last few years, the Wyandotte Learning Center was home to one of the GISH Academies, the grades 9-12 Newcomers Program, and the high school Skills Academy.  The building, originally designed in the 1970’s, is predominantly an open concept layout.  The cost to make the building more secure and educationally functional was a big part of why the new Starr Elementary building was built.  However, the open layout of the building should allow the new owners to more easily configure it for their purposes.

The GIPS Board of Education is excited that a local, community service organization saw the property’s potential and pursued the chance to reimagine the “Old Starr” facility into something new.  After considering a number of options, the GIPS Board ultimately believed the highest and best use would be to ensure the Wyandotte property would remain a meaningful resource to the community of Grand Island.

YWCA Grand Island (per their website) provides direct services, empowerment programming, and advocacy to support marginalized individuals and families, especially women and girls of color, while working to challenge structural barriers to equity.  A few notable programs they provide are childcare services, mission menstruation, Northstar digital literacy, Allstate financial classes, among others.  

“We are excited to expand access to childcare and other community services through this purchase,” Amy Bennett, YWCA Grand Island Director, said.

Seeing the building's potential and prime location as opportunities, the GIPS Board agreed with YWCA Grand Island that the Wyandotte building would hold a wonderful future as a site for direct care and support for Grand Island families.

“This building was originally built through the use of funding received from the Grand Island community.” Matt Fisher, GIPS Superintendent, said, “Accepting an offer that will see the building continue to serve the community is a win for everyone.”

As the sale is finalized in the coming weeks, both groups will move forward confidently knowing the building that once housed students and teachers will still be dedicated to providing vital services to Grand Island’s own women, children, and families.  A perfect fit indeed.