Owner open to ideas on West ward

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

As he signs the papers today to conclude the purchase the West Ward school property, Jon Morrison is turning to citizens of the McCook area for ideas about how best to utilize the square block of property and the 15,000 square feet of building space.

"The West Ward building is strategically located, encompasses an entire block of property and is a great opportunity to bring a venue to McCook that is not present today," Morrison said.

Jon Morrison is one of the three children of the former Governor and First Lady of Nebraska, Frank and Maxine Morrison. Gov. and Mrs. Morrison passed away within a month of each other earlier this year.

It was with his parents in mind that Jon says he purchased the West Ward property. "The idea for Heritage House was conceived during the final year of my mother and father's life. When the old West Ward elementary school became available for purchase, it seemed the perfect stage for developing the idea. West Ward has particular sentimental attachment since all the Morrison children were students there at one time. In fact, I liked it so much I spent two years in the third grade!"

As Jon sees it, the West Ward building provides multiple options for usage. Morrison's thoughts have been primarily focused upon (1) A complete and elegant housing facility for senior citizens; and (2) A dining, entertainment, meeting and lodging facility.

However, he said, "I welcome suggestions for other uses that may be more beneficial or meet a greater need for the citizens of McCook. I also believe that the investment needs to be approached on a financially viable basis."

To this end, Jon Morrison has been working with Randy Stramel, an architect from Lincoln who was born and raised in McCook. He is also calling upon two engineers with McCook roots, Gary Loop and Marty Kasl, to work with Stramel on the design for the building and grounds.

Morrison wants to preserve the structure, because, in his opinion, "The structural integrity of the building is superior to many new construction methods employed today."

If you have suggestions for how best to use the West Ward property, you're encouraged to send them to: Jon Morrison, 3338 Rutledge Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89120. Although West Ward's days as an educational institution have passed, Jon Morrison believes it can continue to serve the community in another capacity for years to come.

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