Drew Lewis Foundation @ The Fairbanks
The Fairbanks was built in 1906 as a public school. It has had several additions since it opened its doors. The Fairbanks was a four classroom brick building built in 1906 as a part of the Springfield Public School System. The first addition of another four classrooms and indoor plumbing was in 1910. Years later, a cafeteria, gymnasium, two additional classrooms and a library were added. Fairbanks Elementary served Grant Beach Neighborhood area students until 2007. The school closed and attending students were split and placed at other area schools. Since the school's closing, the buildings have deteriorated and suffered vandalism. The buildings are being restored and leased to community betterment initiatives. The importance of preservation of these buildings lie in their namesake, "Fairbanks". The name Jonathan Fairbanks is well-known in the history of the Springfield Public School System. The successful development of the SPSS is due largely to Fairbanks' untiring efforts and capable administration as superintendent. A man of enlightened views, Jonathan Fairbanks was known to be eminently practical while liberal in his consideration of the various propositions which entered into the scheme of modern education.
The Blansit Investment Group, LLC, investors in the neighborhood for the past seven years, purchased The Fairbanks in February 2013. Amy Blansit and Drew Lewis had watched the school deteriorate for six years. As a means to provide goals for their future while Drew battled colon cancer, Amy and Drew dreamed big and took a leap of faith in the purchase. Although Drew lost his battle with cancer in May 2013, Amy continues to move forward with their vision of community enhancement. Drew always believed in paying it forward. The revitalization of The Fairbanks and the community betterment that can exist through the rezoning and restoration of this historical building is a great way to continue Drew's legacy. The Fairbanks' kitchen will be named The Drew Lewis Foundation Kitchen in honor of Drew's love for cooking and entertaining.
Our mission at Fairbanks is to build a center for community betterment initiatives in the Grant Beach Neighborhood. The 25,000 square foot space will be restored and converted for multiple uses and will include: an auditorium, a teaching kitchen, a technology lab, a library, a visual and performing arts space, and more. Our goal is to benefit kids and adults from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds through social, physical, and educational activities. Ultimately, we hope to improve quality of life in the Grant Beach Neighborhood and make our city a better place to live.
The Fairbanks is being restored to its original character to enhance the urban charm of Grant Beach.
Enjoy a creative work environment that involves shared amenities, yet allows for professional independence.
Grant Beach community works together to enhance the quality of a center city historic neighborhood.