Building on Missouri School for the Deaf campus considered by county officials to be converted into jail


KOMU 8 News in Missouri reported that the Callaway County Commission is considering turning an unused building at the Missouri School for the Deaf, Rice Hall, into a new jail or a justice center that might include a jail. 

MSD is in Fulton, which is in Callaway County.

There are many people affiliated with MSD who are objecting to this. 

The Fulton Sun explained that the commission, since the beginning of the year, has considered building a new $30 million facility for a justice center that would combine a jail, courthouse, and county law enforcement in one place. 

But the commission doesn’t appear to want to spend that much money, so they have started talks with the state to acquire Rice Hall on the north side of the MSD campus. 

County officials have toured the building and they think it can be remodeled to become a justice center with additional facilities, including a jail. 

Rice Hall is located north of the track and football field. 

A MSD alumni told “The Daily Moth” that Rice Hall used to be a dorm for middle school students, but they were moved to another dorm on campus. 

The building was then rented out to another school for a period of time. Today, the building is not in a good shape and needs repairs.

It appears the building is in the process of being sold along with a “scout cabin” next to it. 

There is a bill in the state Legislature, filed by State Senator Jeanie Riddle, to turn over the property to the county. 

I found a bill introduced by Sen. Riddle to convey (transfer) state property in Callaway County. 
The bill, SB 470, does not name MSD, but describes a subdivision in Fulton where MSD is in. 

A county commissioner, Roger Fischer, told KOMU 8 that their jail is in bad condition with some parts sinking or cracking. He said there are also overcrowding issues with it being full every day of the year. 

Fischer said Rice Hall has thousands of square feet that can be converted into a jail and save the county $5 to $8 million dollars. 

Kira Lee Roberts, who is an MSD employee and an alumni, told KOMU 8 that she and several others thinks it is heartbreaking and disappointing. Her concern was on the jail’s proximity to MSD and other nearby schools and parks. 

There is a discussion about this on a Facebook page called “Missouri School for the Deaf Alumni.” 

Multiple people commented that it was a “horrible idea,” that students can “see it right there,” and that it wouldn’t be safe. 

The current location of the Callaway County jail is less than a mile away from the Missouri School for the Deaf. 

I reached out to the Missouri School for the Deaf and they said they are not able to comment. They referred me to the Missouri Office of Administration (MOA), a state level entity who oversees the school and the buildings. 

I reached out to the MOA via email. If I get a response, I will provide an update.

Senator Riddle:

SB. 470:

Alumni FB Page: