August 21, 2013 - The Lindbergh Schools Board of Education recently approved the purchase of property at 9188 Eddie & Park Road, adjacent to Sappington Elementary School.
The property will be used to provide playground and green space at Sappington Elementary, Superintendent Jim Simpson told the Call.
Board members voted 6-0 during a July 9 closed session to purchase the property from members of the Gruber family for $235,000.
"Sappington is our fastest-growing elementary. It is now over 600 students. The building has been designed for just 500 students," Simpson said. "It will have another hundred students coming to it in the very near future from this massive subdivision ... across from Grant's Farm. And we just about covered up the whole campus with buildings when we built the Prop R '06 additions, leaving only a little postage-stamp playground.
"A small playground for a mega-building that size is not the Lindbergh way to think about things, and therefore, we have purchased adjacent property when it comes on the market," he added. "And the Gruber property is the latest one of those. All this is going to become playground and green space."
Lindbergh voters in November 2006 approved Proposition R, described by administrators as a no-tax-rate-increase $32 million bond issue. Approval of the measure did not increase the district's debt-service tax rate, which remained unchanged at 38 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The debt-service tax rate was extended for a six-year period that will end in 2026.
Projects funded by the $32 million bond issue included new roofs, the replacement of rooftop HVAC units, classroom doors that lock from the inside for elementary schools, fire alarms and security cameras in most buildings, and renovations and additions to Kennerly and Sappington elementary schools.
In 2006, Lindbergh purchased two properties adjacent to Sappington Elementary for roughly $420,000, yet the school's campus still lacks of playground and green space, according to Simpson.
"... Sappington suffers from a lack of green space more than any campus we have, and we are determined to remedy that when possible and to gain some green space," he said. "Sappington is a building for the next hundred years. So we're the long-term thinkers and we know the things we're doing now will be in place a hundred years from now."
As for the cost, Simpson said, "We only pay appraisal price. So the Gruber property is another example of that. The taxpayers aren't paying any premiums. We pay appraisal price. If they don't want to sell at appraisal price, then we don't buy ...
"We think that's fair both ways. Appraisal price is a win-win. It's value both ways. The owner of the house is getting full value for their home and then the school district is paying market value for the home."
It will become a playground as soon as the district receives all the required code approvals from St. Louis County, including a demolition permit for the house that currently is on the lot, the superintendent said.