Lafayette Preparatory Academy Expansion - Lafayette Square Neighborhood

The corner of Lafayette and Mississippi Avenues in the Lafayette Square Neighborhood is one we drive by countless times a week. The space has been activated and greatly improved since the charter school Lafayette Preparatory Academy (LPA) set up shop in 2013.

Now, there’s a set of caring St. Louis parents who think charter schools suck money away from SLPS and are not accountable for serving the marginalized in our city. As a family who has chosen SLPS, I get it, but I’m a realist when it comes to educational options for families trying to root down in St. Louis vs. move to the suburbs.

Some have been soured by the SLPS and won’t consider it as an option. Again, I get it. So, options seem like an obvious benefit to city living.

LPA is one of the most racially diverse in the city with a 45% white, 39% black, 8% mixed race, 6% Hispanic/Latino and 2% Asian student population (source).

The school provides a viable option for many families and students. I can’t knock that. We know families who are choosing this place and are happy and thriving. Good for them. They will hopefully stay here and build a base of caring parents and kids with good educational options.

Now there is more reason to commit to St. Louis, LPA is expanding with a middle school.

This was news to me. Sometimes you just have to stop and take stock of what’s going on in our fair city.

We took a nice walk in Lafayette Park today and finally stopped to check out what’s going on here.

A former surface parking lot is being built upon with a new building expanding the school.

Here’s what’s up with LPA’s next phase and expansion to a middle school complete with a gym.

Now, in our 6th year (2018-2019), Lafayette Preparatory Academy is fulfilling one of its founding goals by expanding to support a new middle school. We are building a 10,000 sq. ft. two-story classroom building and an 8,000 sq. Ft. gymnasium/auditorium, but the work has only begun and there is much more to do.

As the contractors develop the physical building, we are seeking partners and donors to provide the many needed bells and whistles. Specifically, we are looking for donors and partners to sponsor the technology needed in our new addition: Promethean Boards, Chromebooks, security cameras and an intercom system. We are also looking to expand materials available for the maker spaces. In addition to technology, we are looking for partners to outfit our gymnasium and auditorium spaces. For the gymnasium/auditorium, we are looking for support with an electronic scoreboard, bleachers, gym curtain, gym wall pads, basketball hoops, a sound system and a mobile performance stage.
— Lafayette Preparatory Academy
LPA UIC.jpeg

The classroom expansion including eight new classrooms, two maker spaces, offices and an open-air courtyard is the priority, expecting to be completed by late summer, 2019 and will front Mississippi Avenue. The gym space at Lafayette and Preston Place will provide space for sports, social and community events. LPA will also be reworking their current space to add a second art space, a dedicated music space, and a library/media center in September 2019.

I’d like to see some street trees and a speed humps on Mississippi Ave. to finish it off.

All the best to the hard working educators creating options for families in St. Louis!