District’s purchase of land to benefit Long community

Finding additional land in an urban, built-out school district can be a daunting task, especially when local enrollment is on the rise.

That’s certainly the case in Lindbergh Schools, where district schools are largely landlocked and a turnover in housing stock has resulted in soaring enrollment.

In just the past five years, Lindbergh’s enrollment has increased by nearly 500 students, the equivalent of an elementary school.

Even as Lindbergh is phasing out its participation in the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corp. program, district officials predict the trend of increasing enrollment will continue.

To help plan for the future, district administrators and the Board of Education have taken a proactive approach.

For example, the district in July 2011 closed on the $1.94 million purchase of the Dressel School building, which sits on roughly 10 acres at 10255 Musick Road.

The purchase of the Dressel School building ultimately will allow Lindbergh to address its increasing enrollment. In September, Dressel re-opened its doors as an elementary gifted education center that houses more than 200 students in kindergarten through fifth grade who are part of the Lindbergh Eager Achievers Program, better known as LEAP. In addition, the building houses Parents as Teachers, the Lindbergh Athletic Association, and Lindbergh Activities.

District officials are continuing their proactive efforts for the future.

Just last week, Lindbergh closed on the sale of 4.684 acres adjacent to Long Elementary School at 9021 Sappington Road.

The property will be ideal for adding a parking lot, field space and an alternate exit for parents and buses, according to district officials.

The district will pay $850,000 for the property, which is being sold by Richard and Dorothy Abeln, who have lived in the district for 57 years.

Certificates of participation, or COPs, will be used to finance purchase of the land and build a parking lot that will alleviate traffic congestion at Long. COPs totaling $1.25 million will be issued with a 20-year repayment plan requiring annual payments of roughly $83,000.

With the purchase of the 4.684 acres adjacent to Long, we believe administrators and the Board of Education made a proactive and cost-effective decision that will address the needs of the Long Elementary community for years to come.