An aerial view of the former Riverbend International School Inc. property located along the northern outskirts of Atchison city limits that St. Benedict’s Abbey acquired through the recent Atchison County tax sale.

At the Atchison County Tax Sale on April 21, 2021, the monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey purchased 150 acres of land, which includes the former campus of Riverbend International School.

The property directly abuts the Abbey’s northern property line, extending its current property holdings roughly one-half mile north and west. Negotiations for the purchase of the property began in earnest in 2019 shortly after the school ceased operations.

At the time Riverbend closed it owed a large sum of back taxes and was subsequently unable to pay employee wages. Initial discussions on the part of the Abbey to purchase the land prior to the tax sale did not yield an agreement. The purchase price the Abbey paid at auction was the minimum bid agreed upon to ensure that the Riverbend International School employees would be fully compensated for services rendered, and taxes owed to the City, County, and School District would be paid in full.

Upon completion of the property acquisition, which must be validated by the courts, the southwest corner of the Riverbend property, including the main school building and parking lot, will be sold to Valley Hope of Atchison. The St. Benedict’s Abbey community will begin discerning how it will use the land in the future. Currently, the Abbey is in the midst of a land-use survey; at this time there is no formal plan for the property. The Abbey has been in contact with tenants currently using facilities and land to continue those relationships.

Abbot James Albers, OSB, superior for the Abbey, commented, “Our hope from the beginning was to purchase this property not only for the future of the Abbey, but also for the benefit of the City of Atchison and Atchison County. We look forward to this collaboration for the betterment of our Atchison community. We have been in this community for 164 years, so ultimately, our goal is to be good stewards of that with which God has blessed us.”

St. Benedict’s Abbey is a Roman Catholic Benedictine monastery in Atchison, Kansas. Founded in 1857, the monks seek to pray and work for the glory of God and the good of the world. To learn more about the monks see our website: Kansasmonks.org.

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