Old Bisbee High School Redevelopment
Cochise County will soon begin accepting proposals for the acquisition, renovation, and redevelopment of the original Bisbee High School, located in the downtown historic district of Bisbee, Arizona. This 4-story, 45,000 square foot building was originally constructed in 1914. The main building sits on a 1.26-acre parcel. It was originally built to accommodate 450 students. The high school was listed in Ripley’s Believe-It-or-Not because all four levels have a street level entrance. The building is a significant contributing resource in the Bisbee Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The building functioned as a regional high school until 1959, when a new, larger school was opened. Since that time, it has served as a county library and office space for county school superintendents.
Although currently partially in use, the building will be vacated of the current use (government office, file storage, and library) by the end of 2021. Prior to that, the County will initiate a rezoning from single family residential zoning to commercial mixed use zoning. At the same time, the County will also obtain an updated property appraisal.
Cochise County is currently pursuing a rezoning of the property. If the rezoning is approved, there will be a desirable range of potential allowable uses for redevelopment, including retail, professional office, hotel, and multifamily residential. The conveyance of the property to the successful proposer will be subject to a permanent Historic Preservation Easement to protect the historic exterior of the building. The County also expects to enter into a mutually acceptable land development agreement with the successful proposer that will govern the subsequent rehabilitation of the building and the redevelopment of the property.
The County is in the process of getting a new appraisal. A 2017 appraisal is available now.
2017 Old Bisbee High Appraisal (PDF)
For More Information:
Christine McLachlan, AICP
- Includes two additional adjacent parcels, which total 0.18 acres and provide additional space for parking and site access.
- Built 1914; rebuilt in 1920 following a fire that destroyed much of the interior of the structure
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- Best Places To Go (2018) Frommer’s
- 25 Small Towns That Are About to Become More Popular (2021) Reader’s Digest
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On October 2., 2021, Cochise County staff hosted a neighborhood meeting in order to provide information and answer some questions about the future sale, renovation and redevelopment of Old Bisbee High School. The meeting was in an "open house" style format. Attendees were allowed to walk through the building. They were also encouraged to fill out comment cards indicating the types of future uses they would like to see. Information about the meeting was published in the Sierra Vista Herald in advance of the meeting date. A few days following the meeting, a follow-up article was published.