Dover Street School has been empty for a couple years after its program moved to the former Fritsche Middle School building, also in Bay View. It merged recently with the other program in the Howell Avenue building – which moved over from Tippecanoe – to form Parkside School for the Arts.
Now there’s talk about what to do with Dover, painted brick red, which is one of only two remaining Edward Townsend Mix-designed schoolhouses in Milwaukee. The former Wells Street Junior High (aka Girls Tech), now home to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, is the other.
The school was likely designed in tandem with Walter Holbrook, Mix’s partner at the time, who also drew plans for nearby Trowbridge and Mound Street Schools. The latter two buildings still stand, but were sold by MPS at the start of the 1980s.
Though a 1910 fire in the early 20th century led to extreme alterations of the 1889 Dover Street building – erasing its gable-roofed Queen Anne style and leading to the flat roof, which would be unusual for a building of its era – it’s still an attractive schoolhouse, especially inside, and surely can be put to use in a way that benefits Milwaukee Public Schools pupils.
Tippecanoe’s old building, incidentally, is home to the successful Howard Avenue Montessori School, now in its second year of life. There are opportunities to create new MPS successes in some shuttered buildings.
A plan to turn it into a community arts center two years ago failed to get off the ground. Currently there’s a plan afloat to collaborate with Teachtown MKE to redevelop the schoolhouse into housing for teachers and young professionals.
The Greater Milwaukee Committee created Teachtown MKE to create local opportunities for teachers and attract educators to Milwaukee schools.
MPS will hold a meeting so community members can share their ideas and opinions on the future of Dover Street School, Wednesday, Oct. 9, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Bay View Middle and High School, 2751 S. Lenox St.
You can ask for more info or share your thoughts via email by sending a note to firstname.lastname@example.org. If a plan moves forward there will be future opportunities for public comment, too, as any decisions would move to MPS’ Committee on Student Achievement and School Improvement and ultimately to the full board.