JOPLIN, Mo. — Members of the Missouri Southern Lions football team helped clean out two former elementary school buildings.

Players on the offensive unit cleaned the old Columbia Elementary building, while defensive players worked in the West Central Elementary building.

Joplin schools assistant superintendent Matt Harding says with the new Dover Elementary building now open, they have a year to clean out the old buildings and prepare them for demolition.

MSSU head football coach Atiba Bradley wants people to know his team is part of the community and willing to lend a helping hand.

“We’re in the process of having to clean out Columbia elementary to prepare for demolition. And so, you know, this is a big job we already kind of cleared some things out of here, but there’s a whole lot other stuff left and so we want to get everything out of here. Get it over to west central and just if we need it in the district to be able to try to use it again, if not sell it at an auction. But this is a big job lots of stuff in here, and couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to come help us out from Missouri Southern,” said Matt Harding, Joplin Schools Assistant Superintendent.

“I think it’s important that everybody understands that Missouri Southern is a part of the Four State community, and no closer to that is Joplin. And so it’s very important that we are able to lend a hand when we can. And because we’re appreciative of Joplin and Carthage and Webb City and all the surrounding communities and so in order for them to support us, we want to make sure that we support them and that they know that Missouri Southern is here and we’re glad to be a part of that community,” said Atiba Bradley, MSSU Head Football Coach.

Harding says items from the old buildings that cannot be used by the district will be sold in an auction.