a ring around the sun graces the top of the United Building at U.S. Highway 59 and St. Mary’s Street
Countless businesses and organizations had offices in the United Building. And when they all moved out in the early 2000s, many left a lot behind: old certificates, boxes of files, even the skull of a cow. Today, the three-story building is little more than a bulletin board for its owner, Dave Moore Ford. Venetian blinds are all askew and the halls carry the unmistakable scent of neglect. In a way, it is a paradox: so deteriorated it is uneconomical to refurbish, but because of its asbestos content, too expensive to raze. Curiously, its latest role is that of a public service. The local SWAT teams use its empty halls and offices to train — meaning that should a live shooter incident occur in Bee County, or a hostage situation, the building will have contributed its own part to society’s safety — in that respect, a kind of united effort.