St. Louis Public Schools steps up selling of vacant buildings
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 21, 2012 - After selling two vacant school buildings this month for non-educational purposes, the St. Louis Public Schools says it has four other properties under contract that are expected to close by the end of the summer.
One of those, Gardenville School, is set to be acquired for use as a charter school, a second location for the Gateway Science Academy, as reported earlier by the Beacon. The buyer, Concept Schools of Chicago, said it would be paying the asking price of nearly $1.2 million.
The two purchases completed this month are Garfield Elementary at 3200 Texas, which will be used for temporary housing and support services for the homeless, and Scruggs Elementary at 4611 South Grand, which will be developed as a monastery and used for a place of worship and related activities. Garfield sold for $600,000; Scruggs sold for $700,000.
Other properties under contract are Baden School, 8724 Halls Ferry, for development of a community center; Dunbar Branch, 3018 Brantener, for development as a community health center, and a joint contract on Mark Twain Elementary at 5316 Ruskin and Old Central High at 3616 N. Garrison for development of affordable housing.
A statement from the city schools said the sales “are consistent with the district’s practice of taking a comprehensive approach to promoting the redevelopment of closed school sites." It said selection of projects and proposals are guided by four principles:
- Promote the well-being of the community and neighborhoods
- Support the district’s educational mission
- Promote the financial strength and integrity of the district
- Return property to a taxable use
The sale of Gardenville is so far the only one that would be for reuse as a school.
More information on surplus district properties can be viewed here. Among those still available are the former Simmons, Hempstead, Stowe, Gundlach, Shepard, Lafayette, Marshall, Lyon, Windsor and Ford Branch.