Informational meeting set on early childhood center

An informational meeting about options for the site of a new early childhood center that are being considered by the Mehlville Board of Education will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, at the Mehlville Senior High School cafeteria, 3200 Lemay Ferry Road.

The meeting comes at the request of the Proposition P Oversight Committee, which recently asked administrators to seek public input before potentially deviating from the Proposition P plan to use the current St. John’s Elementary School site as the location for a new early childhood center.

Administrators have reported that razing the St. John’s building on Will Avenue and using the land for an early childhood center poses cost, site development and aesthetic concerns. The early childhood center is the final project that will be constructed as part of the Proposition P districtwide building improvement program.

Mehlville voters approved a 49-cent tax-rate increase in November 2000 to fund Proposition P, then estimated to cost nearly $68.4 million. The Board of Education this fall approved a revised budget totaling more than $86.7 million for the building program.

Mehlville administrators first informed Oversight Committee members of their concerns about the Will Avenue site Nov. 25. However, the board had voted in closed session Nov. 17 to begin negotiations with the Lechner Realty Group for a listing agreement for the St. John’s site. During a closed session Dec. 15, the board voted to approve a 90-day exclusive listing contract with Lechner Realty for the St. John’s site.

Board members will wait until input has been gathered at the informational meeting before they decide whether to sell the St. John’s property, according to Superintendent Tim Ricker.

Keeping the center at the St. John’s site, building a center on either the Mehlville Senior High or Beasley Elementary campuses or purchasing additional land are some of the options administrators presented to Oversight Committee members during the Nov. 25 meeting. Those options will be presented to the public Feb. 11.

Residents will have a chance to fill out surveys after an informational presentation, according to Ricker. Residents also will be able to visit stations set up throughout the Mehlville Senior High cafeteria explaining the options. No period will be set aside for speakers from the public.