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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shenandoah School May Be Spared

Shenandoah Elementary School at 3412 Shenandoah Avenue in Tower Grove East received a reprieve tonight when St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent recommended to the Special Administrative Board (SAB) that the school remain open in its current building. Although the final decision of Adams' recommendation won't be made by the SAB until March 12, the news is a relief to a neighborhood concerned that the future a community resource might become a huge question mark.

Under the proposal from consultants MGT of America unveiled in January, Shenandoah was set to be combined with Mann Elemantary School in Tower Grove Soth and Sherman Elementary School in Shaw in a new building to be build "near" Shenandoah. Neighborhood residents feared that "near" in a dense, landlocked neighborhood meant "on" and that an architectural gem would be lost. The MGT recommendations came only a year after the SLPS had proposed closing Shenandoah outright.

The school is a remarkable building, known widely for the braided limestone columns of its striking entrance (pictured above). Designed by Rockwell Milligan and built in 1925, Shenandoah School is an excellent example of the eclectic strain in 1920s American architecture. Combining Spanish Revival and Renaissance Revival elements on an imposing buff-brick body with a red tile roof, Shenandoah is an unique school buidling and a treasure to its neighbors.

Unfortunately, Adams' recommendations still include the closure and merger of Mann and Sherman in a new school. This time, Mann is suggested for demolition.

2 comments:

brian said...

As a resident of Tower Grove East I would be furious if they tore this building down. I had no idea that was even a concern. I just figured they'd sell it to a developer if it closed. I wasn't necesarilly opposed to the idea, as it would make a beautiful apartment building or condo association. Actually, I'll be furious if they tear any of them down, but extra mad about Shenandoah.

MattH said...

I echo Brian's statements. Also as a resident of TGE and as an architect, I would have been depressed, furious, hostile...you name it. That building anchors and helps define the neighborhood. I was already questioning my commitment to this city and neighborhood just thinking about the possibility. However, I am grateful to the neighborhood groups that provided resistance and hope that was indeed one of the reasons for the change in direction.