A pair of charter schools plan to transform the former First Street Store, which closed at the end of 2007 after more than 80 years in business, into a campus for as many as 650 students. Endeavor College Prep and Futuro College Prep have secured a lease and plan to spend $3.5 million to renovate the empty store at First Street and Townsend Avenue into classrooms for students from kindergarten to Grade 8, said Futuro Prep director Ted Morris. Flyers have been posted on the store windows promoting the schools but it’s still not clear when classes at the former department store would begin. Morris said funding for the renovation, which would take several months must still be lined up. Classes could start as soon as August 2011 or the year after that depending on when financing is secured.
But when classes do begin, Morris said Futuro and Endeavor are committed to a longterm presence in the neighborhood with a 30-year-long lease.” We will really invest in that place and in that neighborhood.”
Futuro Prep began, which currently has 112 students, opened this year year on a portion of the El Sereno Elementary campus. The First Street Store location would put Futuro closer to Boyle Heights, which was one of the neighborhoods the school had planned on serving, Morris said. Both Futuro and Endeavor would offer classes at the First Street Store space, with pairs of teachers overseeing each classroom as part of a team-teaching concept, he said.
The closure of the First Street Store had left many nearby businesses complaining about a loss of foot traffic to the business district. The tiled murals that cover the facade of the building will remain in place once the schools begin, Morris said.
East Los Angeles misses the First Street Store … and its customers. The Eastsider