ST. LOUIS - There's a new charter school coming to the city of St. Louis, and it's in a building that's been vacant for more than seven years.
A month before KIPP Victory Academy opens its doors to students, there are already plans for expansion. The building that will house the new charter school was once Mitchell Elementary. It closed down seven years ago because of a lack of enrollment. Ervina Perryman's son, Braden, will be a first grader here.
"He tested gifted for the school system back in January," Perryman said. "However, they didn't have placement for him. So for him to be able to be challenged, I wanted a new school."
They live in the Baden neighborhood, and she says there's no school there that can challenge him the way she believes KIPP will.
"It got him out of the neighborhood. It's giving him educational opportunity that normally I could not afford to give him," said Perryman.
More than 200 youngsters will roam the halls, with the constant reminder hanging from the ceiling that their future is what they make it.
"We speak that reality into our kids by calling them scholars, and then we make sure they see it everywhere in this building that college is what is possible for you so long as you work hard, be nice, and use your voice," said Principal Tiara Abu.
Abu tells us they'll expand one grade level a year until they hit fourth grade. This is the second campus in the city. The first is KIPP Inspire Academy on the south side for fifth through eighth grade.
After five years here, and now two schools, Abu says they focus on doing things the KIPP way and not what other districts are doing.
"We don't spend our time comparing ourselves. What we want to make sure we're doing is that we're preparing kids for high quality, right now, high schools so they can be successful in college."
Ervina Perryman says that's the kind of foundation her son needs.
This is a partnership between KIPP and St. Louis Public Schools that goes along with Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams' plan to re-purpose some of the buildings that had been shut down recently.
The school's charter is sponsored by Washington University in St. Louis. School officials tell us they plan to open four more schools within the next five years, including a middle school on the same site.