Save Incarnate Word Convent - Normandie Hall
  • Petitioning University of Missouri-St. Louis

This petition will be delivered to:

Office of the Chancellor
University of Missouri-St. Louis
Associate Vice Chancellor and UMSL Director of Communications
Bob Samples
UMSL Chancellor
Thomas F. George
Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications
Ron Gossen
Director of Facilities Services
Frank Kochin
Vice Chancellor of University Advancement
Martin Leifeld
Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs
Glen Cope
Associate Vice Chancellor of Alumni and Community Relations
Linda Carter
Director of Facilities Planning and Construction
Sam Darandari
University of Missouri
Board of Curators
Student Representative to the Board of Curators
Tracy Mulderig
Board Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators
Wayne Goode
Board Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators
Don Downing
Board Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators
David Bradley
Board Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators
John Phillips
Board Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators
Donald Cupps
Vice Chancellor of Managerial & Technological Services
Jim Krueger
Board Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators
David Steward (Board Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators)

Save Incarnate Word Convent - Normandie Hall

    1. Dan Riley
    2. Petition by

      Dan Riley

      St Louis, United States

For nearly 100 years the Incarnate Word Convent has been a St. Louis landmark, a key piece of architectural and cultural history in the "Little Rome of the West," and a source of pride for the Bel-Nor and Normandy communities. Now threatened with demolition this summer, we call for the University of Missouri-St. Louis to halt its demolition plans and save the Incarnate Word Convent, so that it may stand another 100 years.

Located on the very plot of land upon which Charles Lucas, founder of Normandy, built his home in 1815, the Incarnate Word Convent dates back as far as September 24, 1922, when Archbishop Glennon blessed what was then the Provincial House of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word from San Antonio, Texas, the first St. Louis foothold for the order. Construction continued on the remarkable building for the rest of the decade; its cornerstone was laid in 1928 and the convent dedicated in August of 1929. In September of 1932, the convent opened its doors to thirty-five students as the first home of Incarnate Word Academy - a private school for young women. Since 1992, the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) has owned the convent. The university began leasing space from Incarnate Word as early as August 1991, when the building became the first home to UMSL's Pierre Laclede Honors College. When the Honors College was relocated, the building became UMSL's first residence hall. Unfortunately, UMSL has not made, nor found use for the building in close to a decade. Instead of selling or renovating the building - the university claims the costs too high, despite the substantially higher costs of new building construction - UMSL has announced plans to demolish the building this summer.

KSDK was first to report with a story that ran on March 4, 2014. Public documents show that UMSL has already commenced demolition plans, including capping off water and gas supplies to the building and hiring a demolition crew - Z & L Wrecking - to begin preparations. KSDK story here: http://www.ksdk.com/story/news/local/2014/03/04/normandy-hall-umsl-demolition-set/6041853/

While UMSL may now own the property and the building, to demolish this beautiful and significant piece of architectural history is not only poor stewardship, it is wasteful and destructive. For nearly 100 years the building has been a center of intellectual, cultural and spiritual life; its wood parquet floors, arched doorways and grand, colonnaded chapel have inspired residents and patrons with reverence and awe. The handsome facade, designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, has similarly impressed the neighboring community and those who have passed through its gates. The convent is an excellent example of American craftsmanship, masonry and metalwork from the early 20th century with architectural characteristics from 11th and 12th century southern France, Spain and Italy. It's been a happy gathering place for generations of young students - especially the women of Incarnate Word Academy - and it is our hope that the building will stand to inspire greatness in generations to come.

Architecture is art and art - especially historic art that is still functional, beautiful and communal -  deserves protection and preservation. We stand together to oppose the destruction of history and call for the University of Missouri-St. Louis to halt its demolition plans and commit to preserving the convent so that it may stand another 100 years.

To:
University of Missouri-St. Louis, Office of the Chancellor
Bob Samples, Associate Vice Chancellor and UMSL Director of Communications
Thomas F. George, UMSL Chancellor
Ron Gossen, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications
Frank Kochin, Director of Facilities Services
Martin Leifeld, Vice Chancellor of University Advancement
Glen Cope, Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs
Linda Carter, Associate Vice Chancellor of Alumni and Community Relations
Sam Darandari, Director of Facilities Planning and Construction
Board of Curators, University of Missouri
Tracy Mulderig, Student Representative to the Board of Curators
Wayne Goode, Board Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators
Don Downing, Board Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators
David Bradley, Board Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators
John Phillips, Board Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators
Donald Cupps, Board Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators
Jim Krueger, Vice Chancellor of Managerial & Technological Services
David Steward (Board Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators), Board Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators
We ask the University of Missouri-St. Louis to Save Incarnate Word Convent - Normandie Hall for generations to come. Halt demolition plans and re-consider options that would allow this piece of our city's history to stand another 100 years.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. KSDK Covers Meeting with UMSL Chancellor George

      Dan Riley
      Petition Organizer

      KSDK's Art Holliday was first to break the news that UMSL planned to demolish Incarnate Word Academy, so it was fitting that he attend a meeting with Chancellor George where I delivered all of the signatures and comments we've gathered on Change.org and in door-to-door collections. The meeting was productive, but until UMSL guarantees protections for both Incarnate Word Convent and Alumni Center, there is still more work to be done.

      http://www.ksdk.com/story/news/local/2014/04/17/normandie-hall-escapes-demolition/7847553/

      Former convent may be saved from demolition

      Community efforts to save a former convent from demolition seem to be working. BEL-NOR, Mo. - We have an update to a story we first brought you a few weeks ago. Community efforts to save a former convent from demolition seem to be working. The University of Missouri-St.

    2. St. Louis Post-Dispatch Updates Readers, Says Petition Delayed Demolition

      Dan Riley
      Petition Organizer

      The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and StLToday.com published an update to readers on the fates of the Incarnate Word Convent and Alumni Center. Citing our petition, our Facebook page and our community's organized efforts the article confirmed UMSL would be delaying demolition and beginning a process to accept development proposals for the convent building. The fate of the Alumni Center is still unclear.

      http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/umsl-agrees-to-delay-demolition-of-incarnate-word-convent/article_3e549387-218d-552e-8a47-de977e057c60.html

      UMSL agrees to delay demolition of Incarnate Word Convent

      NORMANDY * University of Missouri-St. Louis officials have listened to neighborhood residents and preservationists who want to spare Incarnate Word Convent from demolition and offered at least a temporary reprieve for the former home of the Sisters of Charity.

    3. UMSL Announces Demolition Delay; KMOX Covers Community Meeting

      Dan Riley
      Petition Organizer

      We invited both UMSL officials and KMOX to attend a community meeting to discuss our efforts to save the Incarnate Word Convent and Alumni Center. UMSL representatives announced at the meeting that the demolition plans for the convent would be at least delayed for the time being while they began a process to accept proposals to lease and develop the building.

      http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2014/04/15/umsl-holds-off-on-demolition-of-two-historic-buildings/

      UMSL Holds Off on Demolition of Two Historic Buildings

      Allison Blood Allison Blood grew up in St. Louis County and attended Parkway West... News ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - It might not be imminent doom for the Incarnate Word Convent and the UMSL Alumni House just yet.

    4. Reached 1,000 signatures
    5. Riverfront Times Calls UMSL's Demolition Plans "Short-Sighted"

      Dan Riley
      Petition Organizer

      In the second article of a two-part feature from the Riverfront Times on the Incarnate Word convent building, the architectural critic Chris Zaffziger faults UMSL for failing to celebrate the area's historic architecture and integrate it into its campus planning.

      http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/2014/04/the_case_for_saving_normandie_hall.php

      UMSL's Short-Sighted Plan to Demolish a St. Louis Landmark: Incarnate Word Convent

      All photos by Chris Naffziger Last week, I examined the 200-year history of the Normandy and Bel-Nor area and its critical link to St. Louis' charitable and architectural legacy. Those proud institutions received a new neighbor just over 50 years ago with the addition of the University of Missouri-St.

    6. Post-Dispatch and StLToday.com Publish Letter to Editor

      Dan Riley
      Petition Organizer

      The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and StLToday.com published my letter to the editor in response to their article on UMSL's plans to demolish the Incarnate Word convent and former Alumni Center. Let's keep the conversation going and the momentum building!

      http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/mailbag/letters-to-the-editor/umsl-has-neglected-old-incarnate-word-convent/article_b2a46515-8ec7-58e7-8130-8c619b3be020.html

      UMSL has neglected old Incarnate Word convent

      After reading your article "Historic convent on the edge of UMSL property, unused and dilapidated, is slated for demolition," March 23). I thought I had read an obituary for a landmark I know to be alive and well right here in Bel-Nor. Make no mistake, no...

    7. Riverfront Times Article Features Incarnate Word Convent

      Dan Riley
      Petition Organizer

      The online edition of this week's Riverfront Times has the first of a two-part series featuring the Incarnate Word Convent! We worked with the Riverfront Times to highlight the history and architectural heritage of the Normandy and Bel-Nor areas. It's a remarkable legacy and UMSL should take note as stewards of this extraordinary collection of structures.

      http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/2014/04/normandy_bel_nor_architecture_st_vincent.php

      The "Castles" of Normandy and Bel-Nor

      All photos by Chris Naffziger One hundred years ago, if you were traveling out northwest just past St. Louis city limits toward St. Charles, you would see a landscape dramatically different than today's suburbia along the St. Charles Rock and Natural Bridge roads.

    8. Reached 750 signatures
    9. St. Louis Post-Dispatch Publishes Story on Our Efforts

      Dan Riley
      Petition Organizer

      This weekend's edition of the Post-Dispatch ran a story on UMSL's plans to demolish the Incarnate Word convent and our efforts to save it. Please, spread the word, share this petition and help us save this invaluable piece of St. Louis history and architecture.

      http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/historic-convent-on-edge-of-umsl-property-slated-for-demolition/article_80259f52-cda7-5650-a463-978ce5269660.html

      Historic convent on edge of UMSL property slated for demolition

      BEL-NOR * Standing inside a gutted chapel on the fringe of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the director of facilities management on campus paused to take a whiff of the musty air. "Can you smell the mold?" Frank Kochin asked during a tour. "It's worse in the basement."

    10. Reached 500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Maureen Magner LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL
      • 3 months ago

      The building is beautiful and landmark in the area. Can we move from being a throw away society to one that cherishes our assets? Let's preserve our history for future generations to enjoy. I grew up in Bel-Nor, my sister and many friends went to Incarnate Word Academy. This building is part of Normandy's history that I would like to see it preserved. Thank you.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Bernice Walker TULSA, OK
      • 3 months ago

      I am a graduate of IWA & have always admired the architecture of the convent. It's a beautiful place, deserves to be preserved & put on the Preservation Register.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Sharon Norris-Williams STARKVILLE, MS
      • 3 months ago

      Graduated in 74. That convent is one of the most beautiful buildings. It is a resource to be repurposed not demolished.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Liz Pettit DENVER, CO
      • 5 months ago

      Buildings like this give a city its character and tell its history. There have been enough of these treasures lost in St. Louis. We have the technology to preserve and re-purpose our historic structures; it is time we start honoring their stories and what they mean to our city.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Amanda Mesey HIGH RIDGE, MO
      • 5 months ago

      peice of mind

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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