Historic Preservation Schools SLPS

Consultants Recommend Closure of 29 City Schools

by Michael R. Allen

At tonight’s meeting of the St. Louis Public Schools’ (SLPS) Special Administrative Board (SAB), consultants presented a proposed Facilities Management Plan that calls for closing 29 schools. Speaking to a packed house at the Vashon High School auditorium, consultants from MGT of America summarized the findings of a Comprehensive Facilities Review as well as their recommendations for six phases of closures of, moves between and major renovation work at schools. The biggest — and possibly only — relief was that none of the city’s four high schools will close.

The full text of the report is online here.

Here is the list of 18 outright closures recommended in phase one:

Ashland Branch
Clark (included in National Register Historic District)
Des Peres
Mark Twain
Nottingham (CAJT)
Shepard (included in National Register Historic District)
Turner (listed in National Register of Historic Places)
Meda P. Washington

In phase three, the following schools would be closed:
Ames (included in National Register Historic District)
Cote Brilliante
Mann (listed in National Register of Historic Places)
Shenandoah (included in National Register Historic District)
Simmons (listed in National Register of Historic Places)

These closures include one of the most troubling parts of the plan: recommendation of new elementary schools to replace clusters of three historic schools each on the north (Cote Brilliante, Hickey, Simmons) and south (Mann, Shenadoah, Shepard) sides. Shaw and Ames would combine in the present Blewett Middle School.

In phase four, the Northwest Law Academy building, an unmemorable edifice, would close. Gateway IT would follow in phase five. Furthermore, no currently closed schools — inlcuding Cleveland High School — would reopen.

Most of the schools on the closure list are historic buildings designed by school architects William B. Ittner and Rockwell Milligan.