flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

A vacated school in St. Louis is turned into a center where suppliers exchange ideas

University Buildings

A vacated school in St. Louis is turned into a center where suppliers exchange ideas

GoBrandgo! and Conflux Co collaborated on the project.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | February 17, 2022
Conflux Outdoor Event
Weather permitting, Conflux Co-Learning includes outdoor areas suitable for educational and social gatherings. Photo: goBRANDgo!

In 1871, The Carondelet School, designed by Frederick William Raeder, opened to educate more than 400 children of laborers and manufacturers in St. Louis. It operated for a century before closing in 1976; it subsequently served as a private Christian school before going dark again in the 2000s.

The building is getting a second lease on life, as it has undergone a $2 million renovation by goBRANDgo!, a marketing firm for the manufacturing and industrial sectors, which moved its headquarters from Benton Park, as well as Conflux Co-Learning, goBRANDgo!’s nonprofit incubator, for what’s being called the nation’s first co-learning space where manufacturers and distributors can collaborate and share best practices.

GoBRANDgo! acquired the school in 2019 and launched Conflux a year later, soon after which it started hosting roundtables, webinars, and sharing information. The 26,000-sf Conflux Co-Learning building, with three stories and a basement, officially reopened last November, although some construction had yet to be completed at presstime. Financed with SBA 504 loans for small businesses, the renovation is adding an innovation lab, recording studio, and six teleconference rooms. GoBRANDgo!’s target is for Conflux Co-Learning to have 30 members by the end of 2022, and 100 within the next three years, according to Brandon Dempsey, a Partner with goBRANDgo!.

Right now, Conflux’s educational and collaborative programming is open to the industry. When BD+C spoke with Dempsey in mid-December, Conflux Co-Learning had just conducted a roundtable of 18 manufacturers and distributors on the topic of labor shortages. goBRANDgo! expected to have its first 10 members signed up by February 2022. Membership is $1,000 per month, and is currently confined to midsize companies with annual revenue of between $25 million and $250 million. Dempsey says that because the member companies, by and large, won’t compete, they will be freer to share information about how to drive sales, reduce waste, decrease costs, diversify their customer base, roll out new products, and cope with economic fluctuations.

Conflux Co-Learning also plans a series of guest speakers on a variety of topics relevant to its members’ businesses and growth. The center’s programming is being managed by Matt Menietti, goBRANDgo!’s Executive Director, who most recently served as Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship for the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

In an interview with Entrepreneur Quarterly, Menietti characterized many of the companies that goBRANDgo! works with as “bedrocks of their communities.” The goal of Conflux Co-Learning, he explained, is “to bring these players together and provide them with meaningful content, relationships, and a community of support to help them thrive.”

Menietti said his organization has had discussions with industry leaders about workforce development. Dempsey elaborates that goBRANDgo! intends to launch an apprenticeship program that members could avail themselves of within the next two years.

Conflux roundtable
The programming at  Conflux Co-Learning includes roundtable discussions among manufacturers on topics relevant to their businesses, like labor shortages. Courtesy goBRANDgo! 

The team that renovated The Carondelet School included Eversoldt & Associates (architect), ReSTL Development (developer and CM), and PAP Engineering (engineer). The scope of the project included repainting the interior and upgrading some of the electrical and HVAC systems. The renovation focused on repurposed and reclaimed materials: Conflux recovered more than 50 tables and chairs from the demolition of the Missouri Botanical Gardens’ Ridgeway Visitor Center, and constructed more tables using reclaimed building materials from that demo.

The biggest part of the renovation, says Dempsey, was removing seven layers of flooring—held down by 650,000 nails, staples, and brads—and restoring the building’s hardwood flooring, more than 2,000 sf of which was built by hand.

Dempsey says he’s getting emails “every day” from companies that want to become Conflux members. The owner of a large, local pasta supplier recently toured Conflux Co-Learning and thought his company could hold its annual meetings there. If Conflux hits 50 members within a reasonable timeframe, Dempsey says he’ll know the concept is working, at which point he would consider expanding Conflux Co-Learning to other manufacturing/distribution hubs like Kansas City, Denver, and Nashville.

Related Stories

University Buildings | Jan 27, 2023

Ozarks Technical Community College's advanced manufacturing center is first-of-a-kind in region

The new Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield, Mo., is a first-of-a-kind educational asset in the region. The 125,000-sf facility will educate and train a new generation in high tech, clean manufacturing and fabrication.

Student Housing | Jan 26, 2023

6 ways 'choice architecture' enhances student well-being in residence halls

The environments we build and inhabit shape our lives and the choices we make. NAC Architecture's Lauren Scranton shares six strategies for enhancing well-being in residence halls.

University Buildings | Jan 17, 2023

Texas Christian University breaks ground on medical school for Dallas-Fort Worth region

Texas Christian University (TCU) has broken ground on the Anne Burnett Marion School of Medicine, which aims to help meet the expanding medical needs of the growing Dallas-Fort Worth region.

ProConnect Events | Jan 16, 2023

Mark your calendar! 7 ProConnect Events coming in 2023 – Multifamily, Single Family, Education, and Sustainability

ProConnects bring building product manufacturers and suppliers together with architects, contractors, builders, and developers to discuss upcoming projects and learn about new products and technical solutions. 

Adaptive Reuse | Jan 12, 2023

Invest in existing buildings for your university

According to Nick Sillies of GBBN, students are increasingly asking: "How sustainable is your institution?" Reusing existing buildings may help answer that.

University Buildings | Dec 22, 2022

Loyola Marymount University completes a new home for its acclaimed School of Film and Television

California’s Loyola Marymount University (LMU) has completed two new buildings for arts and media education at its Westchester campus. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the Howard B. Fitzpatrick Pavilion is the new home of the undergraduate School of Film and Television, which is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 10 film schools. Also designed by SOM, the open-air Drollinger Family Stage is an outdoor lecture and performance space.

Adaptive Reuse | Dec 21, 2022

University of Pittsburgh reinvents century-old Model-T building as a life sciences research facility

After opening earlier this year, The Assembly recently achieved LEED Gold certification, aligning with the school’s and community’s larger sustainability efforts.

Sponsored | Resiliency | Dec 14, 2022

Flood protection: What building owners need to know to protect their properties

This course from Walter P Moore examines numerous flood protection approaches and building owner needs before delving into the flood protection process. Determining the flood resilience of a property can provide a good understanding of risk associated costs.

Adaptive Reuse | Dec 9, 2022

What's old is new: Why you should consider adaptive reuse

While new construction allows for incredible levels of customization, there’s no denying that new buildings can have adverse impacts on the climate, budgets, schedules and even the cultural and historic fabrics of communities.

Student Housing | Dec 7, 2022

9 exemplary student housing projects in 2022

Production continued apace this year and last, as colleges and universities, for-profit developers, and their AEC teams scrambled to get college residences open before the start of classes.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category




halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021

 



Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: