Monday, April 29, 2013

Grand Center Arts Academy

The Grand Center Arts Academy (GCAA) is a public charter school founded in 2010 serving students in grades 6-9 currently, and they will continue to add one grade per year, until they cover middle school and high school through grade 12.  From the school website, the mission of the school is to:
Serve students with a meaningful, well-rounded education that includes a strong emphasis on the visual and performing arts and a deep commitment to academic excellence.  We strongly believe in community engagement, multi-cultural understanding, service and good citizenship.

Here is some background from the GCAA website on what a Charter School is:
In Missouri, charter schools are only allowed within the city limits of Kansas City and Saint Louis City. Charter schools must be sponsored by the local school district or by a four-year accredited university in Missouri. As a leader in higher education, Saint Louis University is well-positioned to help ensure that the charter schools they sponsor will provide high-quality educational experiences for the students they serve.
GCAA is sponsored by St. Louis University.  One of 3 schools that SLU sponsors (City Garden Montessori and Shearwater High School are the others; I will cover both in the near future). 
Saint Louis University has established a rigorous application process to ensure that any charter schools they sponsor will meet high standards of quality public education. These indicators address a number of areas critical to the success of a school, including:
■a clear and well-articulated mission

■solid governance structure

■parent/guardian participation

■sound administrative management

■strong educational program

■qualified and dedicated teachers

■plans to serve students with special needs

■health and safety

■evidence of increasing student achievement

■school climate and student discipline

■sound financial management

■recruitment and admissions procedures

■school-as-a-choice option

■appropriate facilities

■satisfactory reporting relationships

Accountability Framework

Saint Louis University has developed an accountability framework to help its schools succeed. Within this framework, Saint Louis University monitors performance in academic achievement, organizational management, financial stability, school satisfaction, and compliance with Saint Louis University’s requirements and Missouri charter school law.
The school centers around a heavy emphasis on creativity in the arts.  The standard academics of math, sciences, communication arts and social studies are offered as well as dance, visual arts, theater and music.

artwork hanging in windows on Grand Boulevard

Dance includes instruction in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, theory, etc.

Visual arts include instruction on drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, story boarding and much, much more.

Theater includes instruction on stage craft, improvisation, acting, set design, etc.

Music includes instruction on choir, instrumental ensembles, strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, voice, piano and much more.

GCAA is strategically located at 711 N. Grand Boulevard in the Covenant Blu/Grand Center Neighborhood just across the street from Powell Hall, home of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

The scenes surrounding the school are among St. Louis' best.  The cafeteria (where real food is prepared mind you) looks out on Grand.

This beautiful building is probably recognizable to most as the former Carter Carburetor complex.

This Carter Carburetor company is familiar to me from the hulking, abandoned and according to the EPA PCB-laden automotive parts manufacturing facility located in the Jeff-Vander-Lou Neighborhood visible from North Grand in the shadows of the former Sportsman's Park.

According to this source:  Carter was founded in 1909 by William Carter, and was purchased by American Car and Foundry Company Inc. in 1922, producing carburetors for GM, Ford, Chrysler, AMC and Willys, as well as for military applications. It was the first American carburetor manufacturer to produce a four-barrel unit, for the 1952 Buick. It was closed in 1985.

According to a 2010 Post-Dispatch report, ACF is now located in St. Charles, MO far from the PCBs they left behind.  I digress, back to GCAA...

Check out the front door... a real beauty.

Grand Center is becoming known more and more for its connection to the fine arts.  GCAA is a perfect addition and the school routinely partners with KETC Channel 9, Craft Alliance, Dance St. Louis, Metro Theater Company, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theater St. Louis, among others.

I was able to connect with the Robinson family (Renee) to talk about GCAA and share a personal perspective on the school.  Here is their story:

Where are you guys from?
I was born is St. Louis , Mo.  Lived in Denver, met Mike from Auckland New Zealand, married moved to NZ for 7 years, moved back to St. Louis.  Adopted Valera from Ukraine, Michael from Belarus.
How long have you lived in St. Louis?  
After I graduated from Maryville University I moved away and eventually came back.  Have now resided in the city for 15 years.
What neighborhood do you reside in?  
How old are your kid(s)?  
Valera is 12.75 years old (at GCAA), Michael is 10.25 years old (Gateway Science Academy).
How long has your daughter attended GCAA? 
Valera has attend GCAA for 6th grade and is in final quarter of 7th grade.
What other schools did you consider?  
What was the key decision point for choosing GCAA?   
Of course we wanted a school that we felt could provide a solid education. Start time of the school day was a big factor.  Since our children were going to be in different schools we wanted a schedule that would allow time for extracurricular activities and a home schedule that allowed for coordinated wake up, bed times, family time, free time etc.  Reasonable homework volume was a big consideration. I think a safe environment conducive to learning is something all parents want for the children.  GCAA is an art focused school, which is a perfect fit for our daughter.  It is a stimulating environment with frequent opportunities for enrichment.
How do you enroll in GCAA?  
My husband and I followed the development of the school.  Valera and I spent a few hours at GCAA and then I applied for her.  She took a portfolio of her art work and science projects and met with the Principal for an interview.   
Do they get to school by bus, walk, drop-off?  
GCAA does not provide transportation.  We carpool with other families in our neighborhood.
Please rank on a scale of 1 – 10 safety, teaching, principal, curriculum, physical resources and overall education? 
Safety – 10:  The entrances are closely monitored. We have a Safety Officer and Dean of Students who are visible and involved with the students daily.
Teaching – I would give the teachers we have experienced a 10.  All the teachers have been responsive and supportive.  So far, the teachers we have had a GCAA have given reasonable homework and age appropriate projects that are relevant.  They encourage a hands on, creative approach even in math and sciences.. 
Principal – 10  Principal Glickert is excellent.  She works with families on getting their needs met.  She is responsive and direct. She addresses issues head on. I would say that she has high expectations of the students and the staff.  She often expresses her pride in the students and the school.  I think her leadership style sets a positive, upbeat tone within the school and makes the students feel special.  She is forthcoming with information about the school and the goals of the school. 
Curriculum – 9  It is age appropriate and projects are interesting and worthwhile.  There is a plan in place to allow  students to work through classes at their individual skill level.  Block scheduling has been put in place this year and is expanding as the school grows. 
If by physical resource you mean the building and atmosphere, then it is a definite 10.  The building itself is light, pleasant and interesting. There are some great views of the city from the classrooms. If you do get distracted in class at least you have a great view. As far as books, available materials for projects etc.  I would say 7.  I say this primarily because the administration is working to further establish some areas, like the library. More specific classes and resources are to be added as the school grows. 
Are there enrichment classes available?  
Yes, based on the ability of the students, they may work through classes according to skill level is expanding.  There is a steady offering of field trips and guest speakers and performers.
Are there extra-curricular activities?
GCAA is in the process of establishing it's traditions for the students, like dances, picnics, school parties.  There are only a few regular after school activities.  Many of the students at GCAA study dance, music and theater and perform so they are involved in private lessons after school.
What is the makeup of the student body (part of city from, race, income)? 
GCAA is an art focused school.  The mission of the school caters to creative students with a passion for at least one of the arts.  However, they do not have to be trained in a specific art.  But you will meet many skilled, gifted and talented students.   Current students are from 87 schools in many areas around St. Louis and St. Louis counties (15%).  It is a diverse student body which is currently 60% African American, 40%  other.  Girls out number boys, 63% to 37%.  GCAA has very active parent associations.
STL City Talk did an online search and found the above estimates to be pretty close (source):

67% Black

27% White

3% Hispanic/Latino

2% Asian

1% Other

Is there good parental involvement and accountability?
The Parent Association is very active and growing.  Activities are well attended and supported.  The teachers are very involved in the activities sponsored by the school.  Many of the teachers lead parent groups within their specialties and work with parents on fund raising and enrichment opportunities.  It was a pleasant surprise to find the teachers so active in this way.
Top pros?  
Outside of safety, the top 2 for me are compassionate homework and school hours.  The teachers and staff are willing to listen and adapt to individual needs.   I find there to be more of a “customer service” attitude at the school.  By that I mean I feel I am heard and my input is addressed in positive ways.  We have found the school to be more adaptable to the families and students.  I feel like my children are learning and are being evaluated appropriately.              
GCAA has excellent enrichment and field trip opportunities for the students in many areas of study that just would not normally be available. I attribute this to the excellent relationship the GCAA staff has established with the arts community and the Grand Center neighborhood.
Another pro is the location; being near the SLU campus has given my daughter a positive impression of college life.  The SLU students who assist at GCAA have been good role models.
Top cons?  
GCAA has little in the way of after school programs.  I know middle and high school do not need as many programs but since there is no transport, some after school programs would be an asset to families. There are actions being taken to improve the situation. 

I am anxious to see the library move forward.
In the future I would like to see programs like Honors Society that recognize academic achievement.  
What are the fees if any? 
There will be fees for some activities in the future at GCAA.  I have found that the fees, so far, are the same I encountered at SLPS re: field trips and extra activities.
What is the long-term stability of the school?  
The school is young.  As parents we are monitoring the situation as the school develops.  My children are very happy at their schools.  They are learning and thriving.  I do think the school is stable, primarily because there is such a need for alternatives to the public schools in our area and they provide good services. 
What are the near-term plans for the physical location/building?
GCAA is expanding to include the rehab of the Sun Theater next door to the main campus.  

The school starts at 6th grade and is currently up to 9th grade with plans to add a grade per year to complete 12 grades. The Grand Center district is very active in looking at ways to accommodate families at the school.  

We are offered opportunities to participate in development meetings in the area.  There are many exciting plans on the table for development around the school.
How long has the school been in existence? 
GCAA has been open for 3 years, 2 years at the present location.
I would like to know more about the actual fine arts being taught and music and how that plays into the average day.
While GCAA is an art focused school, it is still obligated to follow curriculum guidelines established by DESE. As the students move to the upper grades they begin to get more choices in their art focused classes. In addition to an all year art elective, exploratory is offered to sixth graders. This is a rotation, each quarter they select a different arts elective. It gives students a chance to try other arts. By ninth grade, the students are to declare the art they wish to make their focus.
Residents of St. Louis, please research your options for school in the city before you vacate for the suburbs. There are many, many viable school options in St. Louis that did not exist before.  If you are an expecting parent or young family, please call the school, talk to your neighbors, go visit the places...anything to learn about city schools. Become educated on your choices before abandoning the city as previous generations have.

Be part of the solution and not the problem. Thanks to the Robinson family for sharing their story...St. Louis City Talk is on to the next school adventure...stay tuned and informed.

To apply for GCAA click HERE.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Kennard Classical Junior Academy

Kennard Classical Junior Academy (KCJA) is a magnet school within the St. Louis Public School System, focusing on "gifted programs" serving children grades pre-Kindergarten through 5th. The school has been located at 5031 Potomac Avenue in the North Hampton Neighborhood since 1928.

The school building itself is another St. Louis masterpiece designed by Milligan.  Most recently the school served as a Junior Naval ROTC Middle School until it was closed in 1989 and then reopened in 1990 as the first gifted and talented magnet in St. Louis.  The building appears to be hear for the long run as the district recently invested in new central HVAC and the recent Proposition S passage brought a new roof, paved/resurfaced parking lot & playground, building & security upgrades, building envelope (whatever that means), new kitchen equipment, window replacements, and window shades.  Glad to see the investment being made is this beautiful asset to the city. 

The building gets its name from former Confederate soldier and successful business man Samuel M. Kennard (1842-1916).

Lieutenant Kennard was born in Lexington, Kentucky. He and his family moved to St. Louis in 1857. In 1861, when the secession crisis erupted, he joined the “Minute Men,” a militia organization in St. Louis that supported the Southern cause. He escaped capture at Camp Jackson and went to Little Rock, Arkansas and then to Memphis where he joined Bowen’s Brigade.In the spring of 1862 he joined John C. Landis Artillery Battery at Saltillo, Mississippi. While serving in this battery he participated in the battles of Iuka, Corinth, Grand Fulf, Port Gibson, Bakers Creek, Big Black and the siege of Vicksburg. After the surrender of the garrison at Vicksburg and parole camp at Demopolic, Alabama, the batteries of wade, Landis and Guibor were merged and became known as Guibor’s Battery.While in Guibor’s Battery, he was promoted to lieutenant and fought at the battles Resaca, New Hope Church, Kennesaw Mountain, the siege of Atlanta and Hood’s Tennessee Campaign. He fired the first gun in the battle of Franklin, Tennessee.After the battle of Franklin, he served as aide-de-camp to General Nathan Bedford Forrest. He was captured at the battle of Selma in April of 1865, but escaped a week later. While returning to his command at Bentonville, he learned of General Lee’s surrender and returned to his home in St. Louis.He went to work for Kennard and Sons Carpet Company of St. Louis and became very involved in St. Louis organizations. He was a member of the Veiled Prophet Association, served as eastern brigade commander of the Missouri Division of the United Confederate Veterans and was active in the St. Louis Exposition Association, the Citizens Smoke Abatement Council. He was Director of the American Exchange Bank, the Mississippi Valley Trust Company, the Suburban Railway Company and the Missouri Savings and Loan Company. (bio by: Connie Nisinger)
Kennard is buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery:

This school is the first gifted and talented program in the city.  The other school following the model is Mallinkrodt.  So, what is a gifted and talented program?  Essentially the students are tested for general aptitude and logical comprehension and have to score high enough to make the cut and get on the waiting list.  The waiting list is lottery based and there is sibling preference.  The school teaches on an accelerated curriculum, meaning, they teach a grade up.  If the student is in 1st grade he/she will be learning the 2nd grade curriculum, etc.  For what it's worth, KCJA routinely places among the top test scores in the city and region.  In 2009 it was awarded the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award and has won the Missouri Gold Star School Excellence in Education Award.
From the school website:
Kennard CJA is the only gifted elementary school in the state of Missouri. The student body consists of both urban and suburban students and includes a full range of socio-economic backgrounds and cultures. Students entering Kennard are placed based on the state criteria for gifted as well as the magnet lottery system. Kennard’s goal is first to improve student achievement by providing challenges that promote intellectual, social, emotional, and creative excellence. The learning community collaborates to nurture and promote an appreciation of diversity and individuality and to work diligently to instill self-confidence and a sense of empowerment in students. The staff, as well as other stakeholders, recognize that when students know they have a voice and are taught how to use that voice responsibly and productively students learn to become productive, accountable members of society. As a member of Missouri’s Professional Learning Community Project and with more than 95% of the teaching staff qualified with gifted and/or National Board Certification, the Kennard staff understands that the fundamental purpose of school is student learning. Therefore, the staff is equipped to minimize teaching students what they already know, provide new challenges, and strive to make learning a positive experience for each child. Throughout the school, Kennard’s “Tiger Pride” is reflected in its philosophy, “Children First” and motto is “Together We Can.”  The unique learning environment supports learning boards that reflects a school-wide educational intervention designed for gifted and talented students. The interior of the school has been painted with murals of the ocean and the rainforest which serve as environmental teaching tools. The entrance hall houses the Kennard “claim to fame” trophy cases that highlight the myriad of student and staff accomplishments. 
In 2009, Kennard CJA was recognized as one of the fifteen high-performing elementary schools in the state of Missouri and was granted Missouri’s Gold Star School distinction as well as the prestigious 2009 National Blue Ribbon Award.
This is a great school, many think one of the best in the city.  For that reason, misleadingly, Kennard is thought to many parents and young families as the one and only shot for civilized, quality education in the city.  I'm not arguing that it's not the best, but I will say I know for a fact that it is not the "all-or-nothing" option that many think.  There are many other viable options, so I don't accept that argument any longer.

In all transparency, I have 3 kids in KCJA now, one in 5th, heading to McKinley and one in 3rd and one in 1st grade.  I will try to not interject my personal opinion in this blog just too much.  In fact, I chose a family to interview that I know peripherally, but who's kids I've noticed are great and who's parents I respect for the work they are doing.

My final commentary on KCJA is that we have had a great experience here.  My kids are my gold yet I am a staunch realist.  I know no school is perfect.  I attended a private/Catholic grade school, a public high school, a community college and a state university and have good and bad things to say about each.  I also never got the kind of experience my kids have so far.  I'm not saying it's perfect, just different, and completely acceptable per our standards.  I have had a couple issues arise over the years that required me to get involved, but they have been resolved by caring hands and minds and the administration.  I have made a personal decision to not get too involved in school operations, because I want to be the judge of my kids behavior, smarts and development on my terms.  If I like the behavioral qualities, intelligence level, friends they are making and respect for diversity and common man in general, than I am happy.  I don't need to get involved in the PTO or anything else.  Trust me readers, there is excellent parental involvement at KCJA.  I feel that, along with the excellent teachers my kids have had are the key drivers of success here.  The PTO is active and engaged.  They even have their own website, click HERE.  There are so many broken things in the city of St. Louis, and this is not one of them, so I have chosen to spend my time on things that need dire attention...KCJA parental involvement is so high that I feel my energy is best spent in other areas.  I've sat back and enjoyed my time runs so well.  I hope that doesn't sound lazy.  Some of the things I've enjoyed here are online text books, dramas and plays, the new music teacher, Ms. Betts is awesome...encouraging my oldest to bring his bass to school and practice.

My kids like Spanish and art and gym and have made great friends here.  It has been a great experience for us, and for that I'm grateful. 

A guide to magnet schools if provided by the SLPS here.

What is a magnet you may ask?

Students ordinarily go to the public school nearest them. Magnet schools are public schools without school boundaries. Each has something unique to offer that you won't find in traditional schools, whether it's a particular focus on technology or the arts, or a stimulating curriculum designed especially for gifted students. St. Louis Magnet School programs welcome eligible students from St. Louis County to help increase diversity in the public school system. Because of high demand, admission is based on a lottery system.
That said, I'll let Darren and Anne O'Brien take over from here to answer my standard questions on KCJA. Again, Darren and I are acquaintances but have never talked school politics or anything else that would influence my decision to invite the O'Brien's as the family to represent KCJA.

Darren's wife Anne leads a before-school program at KCJA called Girls On The Run, which has been a great experience for my daughter and again speaks to the excellent quality of families working their butts off and getting involved for the gain of the kids.

Here's the O'Brien's take:

Where are you guys from?

Anne and I both grew up in Saint Louis, but she spent some time in L.A. and New York growing up.  Anne's family is not from here, mine is.
How long have you lived in St. Louis?
I've lived here just about all of my life.  Anne was born in Omaha, but has lived here most of her life.
What neighborhood do you live in?
Clifton Heights
How many children do you have and how old are they?
Dylan is 9 and is at KCJA, Hannah is 13 and is at McKinley Classical Leadership Academy (feeder middle school for KCJA).
What other schools did you consider for your kids?
None for Hannah; and, Dylan went to Wilkinson for pre-K and K.
What was the key decision point was for KCJA?

The key point was having good schools throughout the magnet gifted school path from Kennard to McKinley and then Metro.  At that time there was automatic continuity between them and no McKinley High School.  Though not automatic anymore, the possibility (or probability), is still the largest single factor.
How do you sign up for the school?

You first apply to get on the magnet lottery list, then you have to take a gifted assessment.  We did ours through the SLPS, but you don't have to.
How do the kids get to school?
We mostly drop off and pick up, with one child taking the bus home some of the days, depending on after school activities.
When asked to rank the following on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best, they assigned the following:

Safety = 8, teachers = 8, principal = 8, curriculum = 7, physical resources = 7.5, overall educational experience = 9
Regarding the 7.5 on physical resources:

This is difficult because a lot of resources have been provided by the PTO.
Are there enrichment courses available?
There are pull-out classes for math, and some enrichment through Springboard.  we are taking more field trips due to the efforts of the PTO.  We have two big family nights that orient around a theme like math and science.  In fourth grade they go to Jefferson City, in fifth grade they go to the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, IL and spend a week at Camp Wyman.
  Are there extra-curricular activities?
There is an equations team, a chess team, girls on the run and scouts.
  What are the kids like?

The students are amazingly mixed in all regards.  We don't qualify for Title 1 money, so our rate of poverty is lower than the rest of the school district, but still fairly high.  I don't know the numbers, but the ethnic mix is wonderfully varied.  Being a Magnet school, the kids are coming from all over the city and quite a few from the county, though not nearly as many from the county as used to be the case.
STL City Talk:  Here are the recent numbers for demographics:

As of 2011, the student body was:

46% male
54% female

52% white
40% black
7% Asian
1% Hispanic/Latino

29% eligible for reduced or free lunch (this really stands out as the lowest I've seen so far, meaning the majority of families are affluent, or more honest about their one checks up on you if you put low $ numbers for the cheaper lunch).

Total enrollment was 407 students (source)

Is there good parental involvement and accountability? 
The single biggest asset at Kennard is parental involvement, it makes a good school into a really special school.  Kids and parents have a lot of school spirit.
Please tell me about the cons of KCJA.

Most of the problems we have with the school go back to the district.  The resources, or lack thereof, the curriculum and the adherence to the testing regimen, poor communication, busing problems, the lack of enrichment and field trips.  Another issue we have is that Kennard is a pretty buttoned-up atmosphere.  Kids aren't allowed to run on the playground and the overall atmosphere is reserved.  For boys and high energy kids, it can be a difficult situation.

As you can see, the O'Brien's are overall very positive about their experience and would definitely recommend Kennard to other families. It is a safe, viable option for public education in the city.

To all expecting parents and young families out there who love city living, please consider all your options, educate yourself, talk to people and parents and visit schools before vacating the city for suburban districts when your children reach school age.

The school has a full gym for basketball and volleyball and P.E.  There is a stage that is used for holiday programs, plays, etc.  There is also a newly refurbished playground/schoolyard with help from the PTO.  

The parking lot to the west of the school is routinely used by a group of young men who play stick ball in the yard.  This is a great scene, they have been playing here since they were kids. 

To schedule a tour of KCJA, send an email here:

To apply for KCJA enrollment in 2013/14, click here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fox Manor Apartments: Re-use in Dutchtown

The southern most tip of the Dutchtown neighborhood near Spring and Delor is seeing some exciting redevelopment of some formerly problematic properties just north of the Holly Hills neighborhood.  Here's a bird's eye view of the area:

View Larger Map

Several multi-unit apartment buildings between Itaska and Delor on Spring Avenue (built in 1962) are being repurposed with a more modern, contemporary, vibrant look.  I love the fact that they didn't just tear down all the old structures, but are redoing some of them to hopefully make them sustainable, positive properties for the future.

For anyone familiar with this area, you know there have been serious crime and other issues with terrible tenant screening, garbage galore and mis-managed properties.  The area is at best an eye sore and at worst an uncomfortable, violent place along with the Speedway Mart just across Spring Avenue at Delor.  I used to live near here and know firsthand how ugly this part of town had become.  Don't believe me?  Just check out the 120 CSB complaints on the GEO St. Louis website who list the owner as Southtowne Apartments Associates LP at 611 Olive Street, 63103.

Back when I published my Dutchtown neighborhood profile, the properties were looking rough and the tenants had already been evicted in preparation for the renovation:

 July, 2011 STL City Talk Photo
July, 2011 STL City Talk Photo

I read of the ongoing work here and here and decided to check the places out for myself.  From the Post-Dispatch article:
The St. Louis Regional Housing and Community Development Alliance and the Dutchtown South Community Corp. are doing the $9 million project jointly. Some redone apartments will be available this month. When completed, Southtowne will have 40 rehabbed units and 11 new apartments.  RHCDA, a non-profit housing developer, is reconfiguring the site by demolishing 15 buildings, rehabilitating the remaining 10 and constructing six new buildings. The result will be 51 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and a management office.  Renovations include structural enhancements, exterior facelifts, new floor plans, modern amenities and architectural improvements designed to increase market value.
Just from reading the construction sign out front, the former Southtowne Apartments have been rebranded as Fox Manor Apartments and was largely funded by public entities and will be leased out by Vatterott Properties:

Here's what I saw on a beautiful Sunday morning April 7, 2013:

 vibrant colors brighten up the street views along Spring

 small decks on the second floors; new construction juts out toward rear parking lots

Southern view down Spring from Beckerle Park

Rear parking lot facing apts on Delor which are also part of the re-development

Parking in back?...check.  Modern amenities and design?...check.  Decent setback from the curb?...check.  Excellent re-use as opposed to 100% demo?...check.  Next major boxes to check off are tenant screening and property accountability...and some new urban street trees would be nice along Spring and Delor.

Overall, I love this project and think it's a great potential step forward for the area.

In other positive news for this part of Dutchtown, St. Mary's High School has continued to invest in their campus.  The relative new Divis baseball field is directly across the street and looks absolutely fantastic along with the football and track and field facilities.  They are excellent neighbors and keep an amazingly beautiful property.

Let's hope the former apartment buildings on the northwest corner of Spring and Itaska are part of this project as they are in dreadful condition and have not been maintained in their vacancy...people have been inside of these stripping the valuables and partying/squatting.  Entry has taken place at ground level on nearly every building and dumping and further property destruction has ensued.

come on in!

The overall site design of these 1960's apartment complexes that face inward toward a "courtyard" appear to be recipes for disaster in St. Louis where consolidation of poor tenants and poor property owners in these settings seem to routinely occur and eventual strips the area of dignity.

The apartments on the northeast corner of Spring and Itaska still appear to be occupied.

Another springboard for the area would be to improve the curb appeal of the small Beckerle Park; some new trees have been planted toward the southern edge; this could be a great spot for dog walkers, etc to enjoy with a little TLC.

Southwest corner of Spring and Itaska

Cheers to Dutchtown, keep fighting the good fight Alderman Cohn and others.