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The Biome School adds modular classrooms at Olive & Taylor

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Education Services  The Biome School Mackey Mitchell Architects Bill Kent Jr.

The Biome School, a St. Louis City public charter school located in the CWE at 4471 Olive Street, is bursting at the seams and has begun installing modular classrooms on a vacant parcel at the corner of Olive and Taylor to accommodate an expected 220-230 students in academic year 2019.

The school, which opened in August 2015 with 2 Kindergarten and 1 first grade classrooms of 20 students each, has added a grade each year, so that now there are 178 students in grades K to 4.

When completed, the modular classrooms (renderings are shown below) will house 3rd and 4th grade students. They will be joined in August of 2019 by 5th grade students, the final grade in the school’s expansion plans.

According to Founding President and CEO Bill Kent Jr., the temporary classrooms, which are expected to remain in use for up to 7-years, gives them time to develop a long-range master-site plan.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Education Services  The Biome School Mackey Mitchell Architects Bill Kent Jr.

The Biome, a STEAM school (science, technology, engineering, math, plus art), is committed to serving all children within the City of St. Louis, especially those in low-income areas who lack educational choices.  Charter schools are tuition-free and receive 75% of their funding from the State of Missouri. The remaining funding comes from private donations. State funds cannot be used for facilities. To learn more about how The Biome School spun off from the Youth Learning Center, an after-school tutoring center that opened in 2003, read my original post here.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Education Services  The Biome School Mackey Mitchell Architects Bill Kent Jr.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Education Services  The Biome School Mackey Mitchell Architects Bill Kent Jr.

According to Kent, the proposal for the temporary use of modular classrooms as an interim solution to their growing student population was supported by 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy, 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro, and the Central West End Association Planning & Development Committee. The permit application was approved by the City’s Cultural Resources Office and Board of Public Service.

Kent said The Biome School strives to be a good neighbor and is committed to not only maintaining but improving the value and aesthetics of their property. They’ve been pleased to share the empty lot at the corner—which they purchased in December, 2015—with the community, which has used it as a dog park until recently, when site preparation activities commenced.

.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Education Services  The Biome School Mackey Mitchell Architects Bill Kent Jr.

Neighbors have complained about the long line of traffic in front of the school during pick up and drop off, which Kent said typically lasts for 20 to 25 minutes twice a day. The new modular classroom structures will allow The Biome to operate two drive lanes on the parking lot (see Mackey Mitchell Architects site plan above), which should reduce the number of cars staging on Olive.

Bill Kent’s greatest hope is that neighbors will join The Biome School in its mission of educating children by volunteering, participating in literacy mornings, and other activities. “Relationship building creates opportunities for collaboration and serves as a springboard for effective problem solving before or when issues arise,” he added.

For questions, contact Bill Kent by email: bkent@thebiomeschool.org

CWEnder Carla Dawson’s paintings at Third Degree Glass Factory

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Education Events, Sightings  Third Degree Glass Factory Central West End Carla Dawson

Third Fridays of each month Third Degree Glass Factory, 5900 Delmar Blvd., has become a popular entertainment option for people of all ages. It’s a magnet for young families, couples, and groups of friends looking for an interactive experience. You can watch a glass making demonstration, listen to live music, and perhaps take a glass blowing class. There is always a food truck parked out front and on the Friday I visited, June 15, a couple from Ices Plain & Fancy was working their magic creating fabulous nitro-churned ice cream in the front room.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Education Events, Sightings  Third Degree Glass Factory Central West End Carla Dawson

Each Third Friday also marks the introduction of a new artist invited to display art in the main room.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Education Events, Sightings  Third Degree Glass Factory Central West End Carla Dawson

On the 15th, CWEnder Carla Dawson, June’s “artist of the month,” presented All About Color. She’s photographed in front of her oil paintings It’s All Connected, left and  Maui Sunset, right.

Several years ago Dawson and her husband Denny moved to the Central West End from Chesterfield. She said they wanted a more urban, diverse environment. “Plus, the amenities in the CWE are awesome,” she added. The artist can often be spotted walking with her greyhound Pearl from her condo to her art studio in the neighborhood.

As a single mom Dawson chose a career in the banking industry. In 1992 she left banking and took up art studying at Washington University, and then with local artist and teacher Robert Ketchens before striking out on her own.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Education Events, Sightings  Third Degree Glass Factory Central West End Carla Dawson

All About Color is inspired by nature and the artist’s love of travel. Shown from top,  Quiet, middle, Time Lapse, and bottom photo, Pier.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Education Events, Sightings  Third Degree Glass Factory Central West End Carla Dawson

Above, An example of the artist’s collage on glass called Metallic Sunrise.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Education Events, Sightings  Third Degree Glass Factory Central West End Carla Dawson

Dawson’s After the Rain, 42″ x 34″ oil on linen.

It’s All About Color will remain on view at Third Degree Glass Factory until July 18.  The next Third Friday event is scheduled for July 20. Doors open at 6 p.m., admission is free.

To contact Carla Dawson, or to learn more about her vibrant art, visit her website.

A visit to Cortex’s AB Mauri, where they’re passionate about baking

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink Web/Tech  Savor Saint Louis Food Tour Rick Oleshak Oscar Carreon Mark Prendergast Made.by Lia Lia Weber Fleischmann's yeast Cortex Innovation Community AB Mauri North America

After CWEnder Meredith Ramm won tickets to a Savor Saint Louis Food Tour offered on this blog, I noticed on her winning email that she works for AB Mauri, located in the @4240 building in the Cortex Innovation Community. As many times as I’ve been to that building I had never noticed the company’s entry, which is located on the first floor. What really caught my eye in her response was the company’s tagline, “Passionate about Baking,” because I too am passionate about baking.

More than curious about what the company does and why a business that’s associated with baking would be located at Cortex, I set up a meeting with AB Mauri’s Vice President of Marketing Rick Oleshak, to learn more. The first thing Oleshak asked, when I mentioned that I loved to bake bread, was what brand of yeast I used. Luckily my response, Fleischmann’s, was the correct answer as that brand is AB Mauri’s largest consumer product. I also learned that 2018 is a banner year for the company, as Fleischmann’s Yeast is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

AB Mauri moved from West County to Cortex a little over 3 years ago after Australian Mark Prendergast became president. Prendergast, a biking enthusiast, lived at The Chase Park Plaza for a while and would bike around the Central West End after work. When he discovered Cortex, he decided to move AB Mauri’s North American headquarters to a 23,000 s.f. space (which includes 8,000 s.f. of lab space called the bakingHUB) at @4240, Duncan and Boyle.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink Web/Tech  Savor Saint Louis Food Tour Rick Oleshak Oscar Carreon Mark Prendergast Made.by Lia Lia Weber Fleischmann's yeast Cortex Innovation Community AB Mauri North America

photo courtesy of AB Mauri

Rick Oleshak, photographed in the bakingHUB above, said the change in location has also changed the attitude of the company’s 80 employees. The West County location didn’t have the personality Cortex has, and employees now enjoy interaction with other tech company innovators @4240.

AB Mauri is a baking technology company that delivers service, yeast and bakery ingredient solutions to large industrialized bakeries, local grocery chains and many restaurants as well.  The company also has artisanal partners around the country including several in the St. Louis  area.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink Web/Tech  Savor Saint Louis Food Tour Rick Oleshak Oscar Carreon Mark Prendergast Made.by Lia Lia Weber Fleischmann's yeast Cortex Innovation Community AB Mauri North America

CWEnder Meredith Ramm, above, became AB Mauri’s Financial Planning & Analysis Manager in March of 2017. “I own forecasting, budgeting, etc. on the financial side,” she said.  “My husband and I love living in the Central West End and I couldn’t imagine turning down a job offer in the neighborhood too.” Ramm added that the work environment is fabulous. It’s easy to appreciate, once you step inside the handsome space, why AB Mauri was named one of the coolest working spaces by the St. Louis Business Journal and one of the top workplaces in a 2017 St. Louis Post-Dispatch poll.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink Web/Tech  Savor Saint Louis Food Tour Rick Oleshak Oscar Carreon Mark Prendergast Made.by Lia Lia Weber Fleischmann's yeast Cortex Innovation Community AB Mauri North America

A row of flags along a north wall represents 15 countries of origin for the 80 employees at AB Mauri North America.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink Web/Tech  Savor Saint Louis Food Tour Rick Oleshak Oscar Carreon Mark Prendergast Made.by Lia Lia Weber Fleischmann's yeast Cortex Innovation Community AB Mauri North America

Fleischmann’s Yeast was founded in 1868 by two brothers in Cincinnati, and quickly became a staple in American pantries. Note the charming cover of a 1917 cookbook above, which hangs on a wall in the company’s dining area. When Fleischmann’s was acquired by Associated British Foods (ABF) in 2004, AB Mauri was formed as an operating division. From the website: “Around the world, AB Mauri operates in more than 50 locations in 32 countries (and employs 7,000 people) with global headquarters located in Peterborough, United Kingdom.”

With 1700+ strains of yeast in its fermentation lab, AB Mauri North America makes yeast for the production of many products including bread, beer, wine, spirits and nutrition. The company recently expanded its yeast production to include biofuel.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink Web/Tech  Savor Saint Louis Food Tour Rick Oleshak Oscar Carreon Mark Prendergast Made.by Lia Lia Weber Fleischmann's yeast Cortex Innovation Community AB Mauri North America

The 8,000 s.f. bakingHUB is the largest lab in the area. Technicians have 500 ingredients available in the AB Mauri system to assist clients in creating a unique bakery mix so their product will stand out from the competition.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink Web/Tech  Savor Saint Louis Food Tour Rick Oleshak Oscar Carreon Mark Prendergast Made.by Lia Lia Weber Fleischmann's yeast Cortex Innovation Community AB Mauri North America

photo courtesy of AB Mauri

The bakingHUB is also used to help bakeries find solutions to problems. Technicians at AB Mauri can program the HUB’s equipment to mimic conditions at a bakery’s factory and figure out what’s wrong. It could be as simple as a conveyor belt being out of whack.

The photo above shows AB Mauri North America Innovation Manager Paul Bright, and Technical Sales Manager Ed Livesey, evaluating a finished yellow cake during a recent baking session.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink Web/Tech  Savor Saint Louis Food Tour Rick Oleshak Oscar Carreon Mark Prendergast Made.by Lia Lia Weber Fleischmann's yeast Cortex Innovation Community AB Mauri North America

Americans’ tastes have broadened with exposure to foods from different cultures. With that in mind, meet Oscar Carreon, above, technical service manager for AB Mauri North America. Carreon moved to St. Louis from AB Mauri Mexico to work expressly on the tortilla segment for North America.  In Rick Oleshak’s opinion, “Carreon is outstanding and is regarded as one of the top technical bakers for tortillas in the industry.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink Web/Tech  Savor Saint Louis Food Tour Rick Oleshak Oscar Carreon Mark Prendergast Made.by Lia Lia Weber Fleischmann's yeast Cortex Innovation Community AB Mauri North America

photo courtesy of AB Mauri

The photo above shows another example of the variety of activity going on in the bakingHUB.  AB Mauri technicians are shown practicing cake decorating skills led by Lia Weber Holter, far right, who uses the facility for her wedding cake business, Made. by Lia (found on The Knot). Lia, who travels to trade shows as an AB Mauri representative, was the winner of TLC’s Next Great Baker.

Thank you to Rick Oleshak for the wonderful visit—and for his patient responses as I tried to make sense of my copious notes—and to Meredith Ramm for acting as the catalyst for letting us explore a company I never expected was headquartered in the neighborhood.  It all started with a Savor Saint Louis Food Tour.

AB Mauri North America, 4240 Duncan.