Kirkwood School District planning to purchase historic Turner Building to serve as district’s Administrative Services Center
Today, the Kirkwood School District announced its intention to purchase the J. Milton Turner Building, located in Meacham Park, as the new location for the district’s Administrative Services Center. The purchase is expected to be finalized in August.
The J. Milton Turner Building is an important part of Kirkwood history. Opened in 1925, it was originally named Meacham Park Elementary School and was established in response to petitions submitted by African American residents requesting a school closer to their homes. In 1932, the Board of Education approved the renaming of the school as the J. Milton Turner School. Turner was a formerly enslaved person and St. Louis native who became a leader in African American education. The school served students until the 1975-76 school year when it closed. It was sold by the district in 1980. In the early 2000s, it was converted to office space and serves as the location for several private businesses.
“We are very excited for this opportunity to invest in the Meacham Park neighborhood,” said Superintendent David Ulrich. “In addition, this unique public-private approach is a good deal for the district and our taxpayers. It’s another example of the Board of Education supporting good stewardship of the community’s resources.”
The Administrative Services Center (ASC) is currently located at 11289 Manchester Rd., and includes the offices of Superintendent, Community Relations and Development, Curriculum and Instruction, Finance, Human Resources and Student Services. The current facility will be converted to create eight additional classrooms at North Kirkwood Middle School. That project is possible due to public support for Prop R, which is providing funding for capital improvements to address overcrowding in the district.
Previously, the district planned to build a new addition totaling 7,100 square feet at the district's warehouse facility at a cost of approximately $250 per square foot. The pending purchase will total $3.5 million, which is equivalent to approximately $91 per square foot. The district will continue to rent part of the building to existing commercial tenants. That rental income makes this a more cost-effective option as it will support the operating costs of the building and pay for the loan on the purchase. No Prop R funding will be used to purchase the J. Milton Turner Building. The Prop R funds originally intended for the ASC addition will be redirected to projects that directly benefit students in the classroom.
The purchase of the building is expected to be finalized in August. While planning is still underway, ASC is expected to move into the building this winter.
View some frequently asked questions here