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The Summit Preparatory School wants to rezone property at 202 E. Walnut Lawn St. Mercy vacated the fitness center in 2015.
SBJ PHOTO BY WES HAMILTON
The Summit Preparatory School wants to rezone property at 202 E. Walnut Lawn St. Mercy vacated the fitness center in 2015.

Summit Preparatory School seeks rezoning for new campus

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The Summit Preparatory School is seeking Springfield City Council approval to rezone a former Mercy fitness center for its new campus.

The independent school has leased space at 2155 W. Chesterfield Blvd. inside Chesterfield Village for around seven years from Noble Communications Co., the majority of which is now owned by Pittsburgh-based Gatesman Inc. With Summit’s lease up, the school wants to relocate to a new home base.

“It’s presented many limitations as far as operating a school and the growth we’ve had, and it has basically zero greenspace,” Summit board President Alison Bauer said of of the 150 students at the Chesterfield Village property.

Summit Prep officials are pursuing the purchase of the former Mercy center that closed in 2015 at 202 E. Walnut Lawn St., but the acquisition is contingent on the rezoning request. According to Greene County assessor records, John Youngblood’s Westport Management LLC owns the property that has a 2017 taxable appraised value of $2.1 million.

At last night’s council meeting, city Planning and Development Director Mary Lilly Smith presented the first reading bill for the rezoning of 6.2 acres.

It’s not the first time council has considered changes to the property.

“Just last year we rezoned this from a planned development to a highway commercial,” Smith said.

At the time, Youngblood Auto Group sought to expand east and build a garage at the Walnut Lawn parcel and at 3410 S. Campbell Ave., according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

If Summit Prep’s rezoning is approved at the Sept. 18 council meeting, the Walnut Lawn property would be changed to an office district from a highway commercial district, allowing for utilization by a school.

“The existing facilities, both the land and the building, are actually quite well-suited for a school,” said Billy Kimmons, a principal architect at Hood-Rich Inc., who represented Summit at council last night.

School officials were unable to provide further details of their new campus plans by deadline.

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