Ahead of the school’s 50th anniversary in the fall of 2021, St. Paul Christian Academy launched a five-year master plan as part of a long-term vision for St. Paul and the campus. Through the intentional planning and confidence gained through the success of their 50th Initiatives, the client refined their vision and are now engaging in the first significant capital improvements to their campus since 2011.

The Master Plan Updates
Following a complete study of the site and school community, ESa seamlessly integrated St. Paul Christian Academy’s long-term vision for future growth into the design process, aiming to craft a secure, appealing environment that fosters expansion and connectivity. The upcoming renovations for the three primary two-story academic buildings encompass building code upgrades, improvements to interior finishes, and a more effective consolidation of age groups on campus. Additionally, the current dining hall has undergone enhancements to transform into a theater dedicated to student performances.

Addressing challenges related to vehicular traffic and parking inadequacies, the current campus lacked expansive green play areas for early education. The proposed new structure not only serves as a distinctive academic building but also offers a secure outdoor play space. Furthermore, it replaces the existing surface parking lot with a below-grade parking garage, effectively increasing both parking capacity and play areas.

Dining Hall + Theatre Renovation
For over five decades, the Dining Hall has been a stalwart presence on St. Paul’s campus, catering to the diverse needs of its students. As this venue evolved to host performing arts programs, camps, and community events, the decision was made to breathe new life into this cornerstone of the campus. The enhancements encompass an upgraded stage, improved acoustics, state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, and flexible, retractable seating that complements the high standards set by performing arts productions. A specially designated dance studio has been introduced to provide superior rehearsal and performance space, facilitating programmatic expansion.

Despite these improvements, the space retains its core identity as a dining hall, now augmented with an enhanced area for performances. Externally, the campus motifs have been reinforced to establish a distinct sense of place. Palladian windows flood the interior with ample natural light during the day, while curtains gracefully close to set the stage for performances.

McGuffey Hall – Second Classroom Addition
Students have walked the halls of McGuffey Hall, the Lower School building, since the school’s founding in 1971. With the forthcoming enhancements to the hall, a new welcoming space will be established to embody St. Paul’s mission as a leader in early childhood education. ESa is currently working on the build-out of additional classrooms that will allow the Lower School and Upper School to be united in their respective campus locations.

In addition, our team is designing a dedicated Lower School common room to serve as an optimal venue for cross-grade meetings, as well as parent and school events. Additionally, this space will provide Lower School students with an environment to explore and engage in various learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom setting. Anticipated for completion in August 2024, the renewed McGuffey Hall is poised to be a vibrant and versatile center for educational and community activities.

Photos: © Attic Fire Photography