With the snip of the scissors and a roar from the crowd, a longtime dream was realized with the opening of the new Academic Commons on August 10th. The Academic Commons is the first new academic building on Episcopal’s campus in more than a decade and now serves as the hub of Upper School math and science. The 27,000 square foot building features 17 classrooms, lab and project space, an engineering and robotics suite and an entrepreneurial studies center. In addition, the entrance of the facility showcases a courtyard-size periodic table.
“This building is part of the Episcopal School of Baton Rouge dream,” said Head of School Hugh McIntosh. He added that the dream is to provide students with a nationally competitive education led by great teachers in modern facilities, preparing them to be productive, adult citizens of Baton Rouge.
Recently, construction has been a sign of progress on Episcopal’s campus with the ongoing Spirit • Mind • Body Capital Campaign. Last fall, the newly renovated Lewis Memorial Chapel of the Good Shepherd was completed. School officials broke ground on the Academic Commons in May 2017 with the project remaining on track for the August 2018 opening. With the completion of the Academic Commons, Foster Hall will be converted into a Lower and Middle School innovative learning center. Attention now shifts to the next phase of construction with work on the new athletic field house underway. School officials and Lead Donors Todd ʼ90 and Gwen ʼ88 Graves broke ground on the field house in May and expect the project to be complete by the end of the school year.
“You are going to unlock wonders within these walls!” said Spirit • Mind • Body Campaign Co-Chair and Episcopal Board Member Sean Reilly ʼ79, addressing students at the Academic Commons ribbon cutting. Jennifer and Sean Reilly are Lead Donors for the Academic Commons. Sean Reilly and Todd Graves are Capital Campaign Co-Chairs. Also in attendance was Katheryn Flournoy, Board Chair and Campaign Cabinet Member. Before the ribbon was officially cut, the Academic Commons was blessed by the Rt. Rev’d Morris K. Thompson, Jr., Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. The Academic Commons was designed by Bobby Boudreaux and Crump Wilson Architects, and the general contractor was Cangelosi Ward General Contractors L.L.C.
A walk through the Academic Commons begins by strolling across the periodic table plaza in the courtyard. Upon entering the building, students and visitors will quickly notice the modern and sleek feel. Classroom spaces are designed to adjust to meet the needs of the students based on the current lesson. To foster collaboration and cooperation, furniture can be rearranged and seats can be easily moved. The glass-enclosed NuVu Episcopal Design Studio contains all of the equipment and supplies students need to create innovative solutions to everyday challenges. The multi-level facility also includes space for visiting lecturers and instructors.
August 10th was certainly not your average start to a new school year. Students returned to a facility, campus, and community that is sure to inspire them to achieve their dreams as the leaders of tomorrow. What a way to begin the 2018/2019 school year!