Pet rescue group bids on old East St. Louis school
A local pet rescue organization plans to buy the old Miles Davis Elementary school after receiving approval from the school board to buy the building.
Gateway Pet Guardians placed a bid of $201,000 for the 54,000-square-foot school at 725 N. 15th St., according to Executive Director Jamie Case. The organizations plans to move its operations to the school after refitting it.
The East St. Louis District 189 school closed after the 2015-16 school year.
The move would represent a big step for the organization, which operates a small emergency shelter in the Hill neighborhood of St. Louis. Adoptable dogs with Gateway stay at foster homes until someone adopts them.
Case says the organization plans to offer shelter space to dogs as well as cats on-site at the new facility. Offering basic clinical services like spaying, neutering and heartworm prevention are also on the wish list for Gateway, Case said.
The school was a logical choice for the organization, Case said, because it already had a large fenced-in area and is in relatively good condition. Founded in 2004, Gateway has worked in East St. Louis and the surrounding communities to decrease the stray dog population and offer pet care services to area residents.
“We’re here because the community needs our services,” Case said. “These are the people we love and the animals we love.”
Kennels will have to be built in the school along with sewage systems, Case said, and the roof needs some repairs. She expects it will cost $200,000 to $300,000 to refit the school.
St. Clair County Animal Services Director Jim Jacquot says if the organization is able to achieve its goals, it could help relieve pressure on the county.
“It has been increasingly tough. Last year we used 70 to 80 different rescues trying to get animals out of our facilities and it’s still not enough,” Jacquot said. “Hopefully all the rescues can continue to do what they’re doing.”
The sale must close by Oct. 15, according to school district documents.
Gateway purchased a pole barn at the intersection of Illinois 157 and Foley Road in Centreville in 2011 with the intention of turning it into a shelter and clinic, but those plans never materialized and the organization later sold the building. Case said the organization ran into problems securing the proper ordinances for the planned facility.
“It just didn’t come to fruition,” Case said. “But that was seven years ago. We weren’t the organization we are now.”
For more information about Gateway Pet Guardians, visit their website at www.gatewaypets.com or call them at 314-664-7398.