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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

SLPS Proposes Eight More School Closings

The St. Louis Public Schools will be closing eight additional school buildings and reopening two, pending a vote by the appointed transitional school board and public input.

The schools proposed by district staff for closure are Mitchell School, 955 Arcade Avenue; Gundlach School, 2931 Arlington Avenue; Lyon School, 7417 Vermont Avenue; Mark Twain School, 5316 Ruskin Avenue; Meramec School, 2745 Meramec Street; Shenandoah School, 3412 Shenandoah Avenue; and Simmons School, 4318 St. Louis Avenue. The closures are evenly split between south and north city.

Carver School, 3325 Bell Avenue in north city, and Roe School, 1921 Prather Avenue in south city, would reopen.

This comes on the heels of last year's round of five closures, which has left several historic school buildings vacant. The district has yet to market some of the closed schools from last year's round. Hopefully the district will develop a policy for swift disposition of closed schools that includes provisions for timely reuse as well as preservation. The district would do well to seek National Register of Historic Places designation for any closed school not already listed, so that the buildings are "tax credit ready" at the time of sale. While the district may elect to retain several buildings for future use, it already possesses a long roster of vacant buildings and needs to continue to be mindful of the impact of school closings on neighborhoods.


Anonymous said...

One wonders how much the administration and acting board understand about the district's remaining inventory - in light of the recent attempt to
install more air conditioning in schools that are to remain open, at least one recently closed middle school, had AC installed the year before it was closed.

LisaS said...

I would take that one step further: supposing the City continues to grow, and the district manages to put itself back together academically, should we continue to dispose of these properties? Replacement will be nigh on impossible.

and anon--not quite sure of your point--I agree we shouldn't be closing buildings that we've already paid to air condition, but frankly, in this day and age choosing not to air condition is just ludicrous. Temperatures well over 100 degrees were measured inside SLPS buildings in the first few weeks of this school year--before and after Labor Day.

School closings are necessary in the current schema ... I just worry that we give away too much, and that those in charge aren't necessarily looking at the long term.