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 email@example.com. 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.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.