Bazine — The future of this small Ness County town may hinge on plastic dinnerware.
The town's 78-year-old high school, which will close in May, could become a distribution center for Yoshi-ware -- plastic plates, bowls and trays meant to look like fine china.
Earlier this week, the Bazine school board voted to sell the high school building and 7.7 acres of land to Joseph Wohlendler, a New York distributor of the dinnerware, for $60,000. The sale is expected to close in June.
Wohlendler, who wants to relocate his Internet plastic dinnerware distribution business to the Midwest, bid on the building on eBay.
Bazine's 311 residents hope the sale helps keep the town alive.
"Up until now, communities who couldn't sell their old school buildings let them more or less fall apart and become an eyesore," said Eric Depperschmidt, Ness County's economic development director.
"But now, the use of technology helps us advertise to the world. And hopefully, through that we can keep on growing, rather than shrinking up and dying."
Other Kansas communities also have used the Internet to sell unused property.
Gaylord, in Smith County, sold its 45-year-old school last year for $25,000. The building is used now to manufacture microphones for the music industry.
"It's worth it to us to have a business in the building because it puts the building back on the tax role and takes the liability away from us," said Jim Muck, Gaylord City Council member.
And the LaCrosse school district last year sold its old building on eBay for $49,500.
Other school districts with listings on the Internet include one in Morland for $125,000; in Paradise for $25,000; in Delphos for $350,000; and in Utica for $35,000. Dighton is expected to list a school building next week.