In another surprising twist, the site of Barat Academy at 17815 Wild Horse Creek Road may be sold to a new school.
At the Chesterfield Planning Commission public hearing Nov. 14, The St. Austin School submitted a request to return the 35-acre planned unit development back into an E-1AC Estate District to allow a school as a permitted use.
St. Austin is a private Catholic school for boys and girls pre-K through 8th grade.
Currently located on Des Peres Road in Town & Country, St. Austin is in need of a larger space. The new location has larger classrooms, a chapel, an indoor sports gym with an attached fine arts stage/theater, a music room, a library and multiple outdoor sports fields.
"Our long-term goals for the school need a new facility and the current place doesn't have all the amenities," said Mark Kraus, development director. "It's a very good fit for the school."
Although St. Austin has only been around for 12 years, the "foundational elements of the school are rock solid," Kraus said. "A facility like this can only broaden its appeal."
The site had been rezoned from large lot residential to E-1AC and then to a planned unit development in 2021 to develop a 35 single-family-home development known as the Estates at Fire Rock. However, in August, McBride Homes decided to withdraw that proposal to focus on its other development on Wild Horse Creek Road - Schaeffer's Grove.
Currently, St. Austin's Board of Governors has a contract to purchase the property at Barat Academy and pay for the move that would require about $5.5 million. The property is currently owned by Midland Bank.
Once again, the fate of Barat Academy is undetermined. No response was received from Debbie Watson, president of the school.