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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

SLPS HQ is a "No Go"

The security guards at the headquarters building on the St. Louis Public Schools located at 801 N. 11th Street downtown, will not let pedestrians use the restrooms inside. This is despite the fact that this building is located in an ugly wasteland of sterile low-rise office buildings and parking garages known as Convention Plaza, andthat this wasteland sits between an even worse belt of surface parking lots to the south and the attractive yet entirely residential Columbus Square area to the north. There are no shops and no public building lobbies in this area. The only logical place for a pedestrian to "go" is at SLPS, which should be a public building.

The public can even use the restrooms at City Hall or the Carnahan Courthouse without any difficulties. But at SLPS, you are turned away.

Thankfully, there is a nice big lawn for the cruder members of the general public. Everyone else has to wait as they walk the four blocks south to the small businesses on 10th and 11th streets that welcome visitors, even those just needing to use the restroom.

Of course, I really want to see Convention Plaza destroyed. If not through outright demolition and replacement with larger buildings with ground-floor shops on a restored street grid, then through reconstruction of the street grid through the area and the introduction of small additions to the existing buildings that would bring them flush with the sidewalk with storefronts. Connecting Columbus Square and downtown is essential to making the very logical step of increasing the interactions between downtown and the near north side, which is seeing amazing growth.

In the meantime, SLPS would do well to open its facilities to the people who pay for them!


Joe said...

The SLPS building, unfortunately, was not designed to be a public building, but a private office building. It has not been adapted well, to separate public interior spaces from private office space.

The bathrooms at SLDC are essentially public, at least from 8:30 to 5. They're right across the hall from the LRA window. There's a secure door you need to use to get any further into the offices. Granted, you do have to go to the 12th floor of a privately-owned building; but nobody would stop you in the lobby, in most cases.

What about United Way? Are they locked-down like SLPS?

Michael Allen said...

You are right about the SLDC bathrooms being public. I've generally had no problems with security at buildings owned or leased by the city government itself.

I have not tried the United Way, but I will tomorrow. Good idea.