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School hopes to add outdoor education center

Chesterfield Montessori School, 14000 Ladue Road, hopes to construct an outdoor education center on the Southeast side of Babler Park Drive, west of State Route [Hwy.] 109.

The private, not-for-profit elementary school plans to provide a covered patio area, parking lot and vault-type restroom facility on the 7.19-acre lot.

The site has woodland areas along the main channel of Bonhomme Creek and grasslands elsewhere on the property.

Approximately a dozen students visit the Babler Park site once or twice a week in the spring and fall to do conservation/ecology work, said Head of School Kimberly Schneider.

The 1,700-square-foot premanufactured, all metal building will provide electricity for lighting and outlets for charging power tools. It will have a seating area and a storage component for gardening and woodworking tools.

The proposed shelter will offer students some limited protection from the elements during breaks and a place to discuss their work, Schneider said. There is a gate at the access point from State Road BA for security purposes.

The property is currently undeveloped, but there is an old barn on the site that is in a state of disrepair.

“The majority of the site is floodway and floodplain associated with Bonhomme Creek,” said Joe Vujnich, Wildwood’s director of planning and parks. “These areas are not to be disturbed.”

No more than 35,000 square feet of the seven-acre site can be disturbed, he said. In addition, no existing trees are to be removed, but some landscaping will be added.

The school hopes to have the project completed for the upcoming 2020/2021 school year.

A conditional use permit was granted to the school last December for the project. At its June 15 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the site development plan.

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