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The Noble I building in Chesterfield VIllage will be occupied by Summit students.
The Noble I building in Chesterfield VIllage will be occupied by Summit students.

Noble building to be filled by Summit Prep

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Market-dictated downsizing by a notable Springfield advertising agency has paved the way for expansion by a burgeoning private school.

Noble advertising and marketing agency owner Bob Noble and partners under Noble/Dearborn LLC have leased Noble I to The Summit Preparatory School for a three-year term with an option to purchase. The deal was brokered by Sperry Van Ness/Rankin Co. LLC agents Mike Fusek and Jeff Childs, who had listed it since December. The lease rate was not disclosed.

Noble employees vacated the 28,800-square-foot building, 2155 W. Chesterfield Blvd., last year and consolidated into its other Chesterfield Village buildings, known as Noble II and Noble III.

The advertising agency has reduced its staff numbers in recent years – down from 300 total employees in 2005 between its Springfield and Chicago offices to roughly 140 today. However, Noble Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Keith Acuff said the lease deal does not indicate further cutbacks.

“(Noble I) had been on the market for a while privately, but a building of that size in town, there’s only a certain number of people in town who can take it,” Acuff said.

Not peaking yet
The Summit, which opened in 2005 with 40 students in kindergarten–sixth grades, has added a grade level each year and currently has 105 K–11 students enrolled.

The private school has rapidly outgrown its space inside Wesley United Methodist Church on West Republic Road, having signed a nine-month lease with Discovery Center to allow the school’s older students to have classes at the downtown facility four days a week this year.

With the Noble lease, Head of School Karen Sweeney said Summit Prep now has a permanent home. The move comes just in time, as its lease with Wesley ends May 31, and the school is adding preschool and 12th grade for the 2010–11 school year, along with summer classes in June and July.

Tuition at the school ranges between $5,700 to $7,050 a year.

The deal, Sweeney said, ends the school’s two-year search for a permanent home that involved more than 60 buildings. Chesterfield Village, she said, had always been the school’s dream location, but nothing was initially available – until she heard about the Noble building.

“I immediately came over, and I knew when I walked in that it was perfect for our school,” Sweeney said, noting the building’s unique features such as rooftop basketball courts and dining facilities, and built-in green space. “The parents and the students said it was perfect.”

Parents and students will have a chance to see how the school will fit into the space during moving day events scheduled for June 1.

Changing fortunes
At Noble, Acuff said he is pleased with what has been happening in recent months.
The company has added seven employees since the first of the year with plans to add more, due to growth across the board.

“Clients are spending again. It’s a better time for us,” Acuff said. “Don’t kid yourself - it’s got a long way to go. But the fact that we can hire people back is a good thing.”

While he declined to disclose specific company revenues, he said spending among the firm’s 30 clients is up 5 percent to 10 percent across the board, and the Boston-based upscale restaurant chain Smith and Wollensky Steakhouse added Noble as its agency of record earlier this month.

“We’re nowhere near where we were two or three years ago, and we may never get back to that point,” Acuff added. “The way clients get their message out has changed. There are so many new (media) that clients are using, and we’re all adjusting to a new reality and a new economy.”[[In-content Ad]]

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