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St. Louis School Converted for Teacher Housing

Phil Hall
Oct 10, 2016

A new effort to help teachers in St. Louis locate affordable housing involves the transformation of a defunct school building into a housing complex exclusively for teachers.

According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report, the city’s Wilkinson School, which closed in 2008, is being transitioned into a 40-unit apartment development that will be marketed primarily to local teachers. This endeavor is being spearheaded by the St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) system to help the city keep its teachers from moving to suburban districts. Other cities, including San Francisco and Baltimore, have similar programs, and the Teacher Corps has an identical program that provides housing in a former convent to aspiring educators St. Louis’ Catholic schools.

“We’d love to see this as a pilot that could be replicated in not only other SLPS buildings, but maybe other cities and states that are struggling to retain quality teachers,” said Donna Smith, of Smith NMTC Associates LLC, a local company chosen by the SLPS to convert the defunct school. Smith added that it was too early to determine the rental prices for apartments in the former Wilkinson School; rents for a one-bedroom apartment in St. Louis can run for $1,000 or higher in certain parts of the city.

The Wilkinson School is among 22 vacant properties that were recently marketed by the SLPS for conversion into commercial real estate developments. Other former school buildings are being transformed into senior living developments and community centers.

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