Miriam Academy one hurdle away from opening new high school

School needs a permit from Village of Westwood to begin $5M renovation.

Debbie Monterrey
May 20, 2019 - 11:59 am
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WESTWOOD, Mo. (KMOX) —Hopes to expand Miriam Academy rest on a permit from the Village of Westwood. The private high school for students with learning challenges has outgrown its current space in Town and Country and has been looking for a new location for two years now, said Miriam Foundation executive director Andy Thorp.

“We think we’ve found the perfect home: the old B’Nai El congregation, which is located in both Frontenac and Westwood,“ said Thorp. “We have a contract on the property. We’ve got the approval of the city of Frontenac in terms of zoning, but we need one more approval. Approval from the Village of Westwood.”

The permit from Westwood would allow Miriam to operate at the former B’Nai El site, which has been vacant for seven years. At its April meeting, the Westwood Village trustees did not vote on the permit, and one trustee expressed concern about the way B’Nai El’s owners rented out the location in the past. Thorp does not believe that should impact Miriam’s ability to run its school there permanently.

The permit for Miriam Academy is on the agenda for the Westwood Trustees Tuesday night. Miriam officials have appeared before the trustees twice already, once to provide information about their plans and, last month, they brought many supporters and parents who talked about the importance of Miriam. Thorp said when a trustee addressed the crowd to ask if there was anyone who did not support Miriam's plans for the property, there was not a single objection. 

“We’ve [also] talked to 30 neighbors in that area to make sure they’re supportive of it, and they are,” Thorp added. “And we are looking to invest $5-million dollars in the property.”

Miriam was founded in 1910. Miriam School serves children pre-K through 8th grade. Miriam Learning Center offers specialized in-school and after-school support services for children around the area. Miriam Academy is the area’s first high school dedicated to students with learning challenges.

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