A&F Newsletter

Spring 2012


Buy a Roof - Get Tax Credits
by Ben Schears


After two years of digging dirt, shaping stone, and finishing hardwoods, the doors of the high school wereireland hall opened and a new era of education was ushered in for the residents of Arkansas City. It was September of 1892, and construction had just wrapped up on a beautiful 3-story building along the city skyline - a pristine high school designed to accommodate the growing city population. It would be only a matter of a few decades, in 1922, before the city outgrew the high school, and the building was turned into a 6th grade building which it would remain until 1941. For the next 30 years it would serve in a variety of capacities including USO Headquarters, “Teen Town,” and later simply disused until Cowley County Community College acquired the property in 1971 as part of a land deal with USD 470.

Since becoming a college facility, and being renamed “Ireland Hall,” the lower two levels of the building (basement and first floor) now serve as home to our Cosmetology and Criminal Justice programs. The second and third floors remain unused at this time, but there is hope in years to come of a restoration of the remainder of the building.

A few months ago while we were looking through old pictures in the storage room of the college, we ran across an old black and white photo of Ireland Hall taken around 1900. The front cover of this newsletter shows a small snippet of the photo (don’t worry the original is still in perfect condition) being held in front of Ireland Hall today. The fact that 120 years later Ireland Hall not only stands, but still has students walking its halls, serves as a remarkable testament to the quality of the craftsmanship that went into creating this building. In a world where instant gratification and short-term gains reign supreme, every effort should be made to preserve and restore time honored treasures like this.

Today, the biggest challenge is raising the necessary funds to install a complicated new roof on the structure. Due to the steep pitch of the roof, historical preservation requirements, and complexity of the project...the cost will be significant and few roofing contractors are willing to tackle the project. With an early estimated price tag between $400,000 to $500,000, it is a significant, yet critical, investment in the future of the building. We currently have a good patch on the section of the roof where we are experiencing some leaking, but as with all patches in life, it only provides a short-term adjustment to a long-term problem. Only a new roof will truly fix the issue.

Here is where we need your help with the installation of a new roof on this historic structure. We are offering a tax credit opportunity, through the State of Kansas, which has the benefit of a 60% tax credit to those of you interested in donating to this program. Combine the 60% Kansas tax credit you would receive with the federal charitable contribution deduction and you are receiving a very valuable tax benefit - in addition to helping the college preserve Ireland Hall. The bottom line is this: If you have been considering making a gift to the college in 2012, or perhaps you already donate each year, routing your gift to this program and utilizing the Kansas tax credits are smart ways to get a little more “bang for your buck” which can make a big impact on our project.

If you are interested, please give us a call at 620.441.5245 for Ben Schears or 620.441.5319 for Shannon Massey. We have a limited number of tax credits available for 2012, and the program is entering its final official year. Join us in preserving Ireland Hall!  

Spring 2012