New: Lindbergh board approves property purchase to accommodate rapid student population growth

Lindbergh Schools announced on Tuesday that it purchased the Dressel School building, which sits on roughly 10 acres at 10255 Musick Ave.

The July 26 purchase was made to address enrollment projections that show a districtwide increase of almost 450 students in grades K-12 by 2015, according to a news release. Without additional space, an increase this steep would cause Lindbergh’s class sizes to exceed Missouri state maximum standards and threaten student achievement and test scores that are currently ranked No. 1 in the state, the release stated.

“The board took advantage of this opportunity to purchase not only one of the last available plots of land in our district, but also a well-maintained school building, at a significant savings to taxpayers,” Board of Education President Vic Lenz stated. “Buying Dressel now will allow us to protect the low class sizes that help students excel, now and in the future.”

Two independent studies commissioned by the board have confirmed that very little open land is available within district boundaries to address the increase in student population that is expected over the next four years. The small amount of land that is available is much more expensive than Dressel’s $1.94 million purchase cost, and would not include the additional expense of building a new school, according to the release.

“Lindbergh is very good at renovating old schools such as Concord and Sappington,” Superintendent Jim Simpson stated. “Renovating Dressel will cost exponentially less than buying land at commercial rate and building a brand new facility.”

By 2015, Lindbergh’s district enrollment is expected to exceed 6,000 for the first time in 30 years. The last time enrollment was 6,111 was in 1981-1982, and student population was declining.

As a result, the board voted to close Dressel, Fenton, Concord and Watson schools. Selling Dressel has saved taxpayers well more than $1 million since then in maintenance and operating costs, according to the release.

The Dressel purchase was financed by selling “Lease Purchase Bonds,” a state program that allows government organizations to purchase property and buildings. The selling of these bonds did not affect the district’s tax rate, and Lindbergh did not have to use any reserve funds to underwrite the purchase, the release stated.

Currently, the district has immediate needs for an additional school as it would create space for ancillary programs. The property was purchased from Bible Chapel.