Fate still unknown for Midtown Building
Design plans are well underway for the Sabetha Health and Wellness Center at its new location at 14th and Oregon streets. This could leave citizens wondering what is to become of the Midtown Building, which in early 2016 had been promised to the Sabetha Health and Wellness Committee (SHWC) for construction of the proposed Center.
Midtown, at that time, was the site of city volleyball and basketball league games and practices and the site of organization meetings. The building also housed a fitness facility, and many rooms served as storage for the city and community organizations.
In March of 2016, the Sabetha City Commission agreed to deed the Midtown Building and surrounding land to the SHWC for the purpose of constructing the then proposed 25,555 square foot private fitness facility. The SHWC Board of Directors proposed demolishing the Midtown Building, at the city’s expense. The proposal included leaving the existing Boy Scout Building intact. As part of the contract, no demolition would begin until SHWC secured the remaining funding needed for their project.
In September 2017, after several months of meetings between Sabetha Community Hospital, a city government representative and SHWC, it was announced that plans had changed for the Center. The Center would now be a public facility managed, operated and maintained by Sabetha Community Hospital and the location had changed to city-owned property at 14th and Oregon streets. This news allowed the Midtown Building to remain intact — for now.
Sabetha City Administrator Doug Allen said it is unknown at this time what will become of Midtown. Currently, Allen said, the Midtown Building is still used for storage, and the fitness facility and gym are still available for public use.
When it was decided that the building would be demolished, the organizations relocated their meetings. A storage shed was built for the items stored in the Midtown building, but those items have yet to be moved to the new storage shed by the recycling trailers, Allen said.
Allen said the City plans to keep the fitness facility and gym available to the public until the new Center is open. After that time, Allen said he is uncertain of what will happen to the building. That is a decision for the City Commission, he said.
Midtown was the former Sabetha High School until around 1969 or 1970, when the building became the Sabetha Junior High. In 1992, when students were transitioned into the current Sabetha Middle School, the Midtown Building was deeded from the Sabetha school district to the City of Sabetha.
Krista Wasinger70 Posts
Krista Wasinger is Co-Editor of The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2011. She specializes in city reporting and feature stories, as well as photography and page and advertising design. Krista is a 2004 Fort Hays State University graduate with a degree in communications studies with an emphasis in journalism. She lives in Sabetha with her husband and four children.