TOMBSTONE — The stately old Tombstone High School building on Fremont Street has been sold.
It was 16 years ago that the Victorian-style building was boarded up and abandoned. From 1922 until its last graduating class in 2006, generations of students passed through the old school building.
Sometime around 2000 the building was deemed outdated by the state School Facilities Board because of a list of deficiencies. SFB determined it would cost more to upgrade the building than to build a new one, so the state replaced the old school with the current one just northeast of town. The first group of students started classes there in the 2006-07 school year.
“The old high school sold for $450,000, which was much lower than what we had hoped to get for the property,” Tombstone Unified School District Superintendent Robert Devere said. “We’re just very relieved it finally sold because the building has been deteriorating over the years. The longer it sat, the worse the deterioration got. We now have a buyer interested in doing something with the building and property.”
Devere worked with a husband and wife who purchased the property under Outlaw Reserve LLC, and the deal closed on April 29. To date, it’s unclear what the new owners intend to use the property for.
In addition to the building, the purchase includes all property owned by the school district from Sixth Street where the tennis courts are located to the end of the football field at Eighth Street, an area that extends a little over two full blocks, Devere said.
Potential buyers who have looked at the property in past years have tossed around different ideas about how they wanted to use it.
“We’ve had people who wanted the property for an event venue where they would hold rodeos, concerts and restaurants,” Devere recalled. “One of the interested buyers wanted it for a winery and whiskey distillery, and others were interested in turning it into a hotel.”
Through the years, the property was listed with different brokers and it was advertised nationally.
The school district currently uses the old baseball field and tennis court.
“We will continue to have use of those facilities though the end of next school year,” Devere said. “That means we need to start building our new baseball and softball fields and a new tennis court.”
TUSD Board President Randy Keeling said money from the sale of the high school will be used to start constructing the baseball and softball fields.
“We’re so happy that we finally sold the property,” he said. “Unlike past prospects, this buyer came through and it’s a done deal. It’s been a long and challenging process, but the sale was finalized on April 29 and the deed has been recorded.”