All-girls charter school founded by Stillman finds home

Carolyn Heger, intern, St. Louis Business Journal

Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls has purchased an approximately 57,000-square-foot building at 1901 N. Kingshighway Blvd., the site of a former Imagine charter school, for $1.75 million.

The sale closed Dec. 30, said Peter Newton, vice president of sales for Hilliker Corp., who represented the seller, Virginia-based Imagine Schools. John Ross of Summit Development represented Hawthorn in the sale.

Hawthorn, which plans to open in fall 2015, will be the first all-girls public school in Missouri. The college preparatory school will concentrate on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and eventually will teach grades six through 12 by 2020.

Hawthorn was founded by Mary Danforth Stillman, daughter of former Sen. John Danforth and niece of William Danforth, former chancellor of Washington University, which is sponsoring the school.

“When we were looking for a facility for the school, we always came back to this building because it was a school,” Stillman said. “The building already has classrooms, a gymnasium and a cafeteria, so it will function well for us, and we will grow into it.”

The newly purchased building previously housed Academy of Careers Middle School, one of five St. Louis schools Imagine put on the market in 2012, after shuttering six charter schools here. The property initially was listed for $2.8 million.

“The building had been renovated in 2007, and any work the building needs would be minor,” Newton said. Newton said the sale had been in the works for about four months.

Hawthorn is currently enrolling girls from the city of St. Louis who will be entering sixth or seventh grade in fall 2015. Twenty have enrolled already, Stillman said. “We are looking to enroll 160 students in total,” she said, including 80 incoming sixth graders and 80 incoming seventh graders.

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