Historic Preservation North St. Louis SLPS South St. Louis

SLPS Proposes Eight More School Closings

by Michael R. Allen

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.