Episcopal celebrated the opening of the new QUEST Center in Foster Hall on Sunday, November 15th.
QUEST, which stands for Question, Uncover, Explore, Synthesize, Test, was designed to facilitate age-appropriate project-based and experiential learning opportunities for Lower and Middle School students. The 14,000 square foot building features a Spatial Learning Lab, Investigation Station, three Design Studios, a Production Studio, Digital Media Lab and Chemistry Kitchen. The building was intentionally designed to support project-based learning all in one location with ample storage for ongoing projects, breakout spaces and large, adaptable spaces to accommodate lessons that would not be possible in a traditional classroom.
Episcopal students have already begun learning within the new facility through a range of interactive experiences. Second grade students built a large-scale, interactive model of the digestive system and sixth graders handcrafted replicas of ancient tools. Within the Chemistry Kitchen, eighth graders studied thermodynamics by making ice cream and first graders worked with the Episcopal chef to make smoothies. Students have already made butter, programmed robots and filmed their own videos. As the hub for Lower and Middle School project-based learning, the QUEST Center makes it possible for these activities to occur simultaneously throughout the school day.
Head of School Dr. Carrie Steakley shared that: “As a former teacher, I appreciate and understand the need for this space, separate from the classroom, that allows much greater opportunities to implement new modes of instruction and learning. This is truly an educators’ dream come true. Thank you to all the donors whose generosity put the QUEST Center into motion. Without your support we would not have been able to renovate this impressive building behind us.”
The QUEST Center is the most recent addition to the Episcopal campus. In March, students and faculty celebrated the opening of the 23,000+ square foot Field House and in 2018 the new Academic Commons was completed. Prior to that, renovations were completed on the Lewis Family Memorial Chapel of the Good Shepherd.
“This building comes from love. Love of the experience people have had at Episcopal over 50 years.” That was the statement from Episcopal Head of School Hugh McIntosh at the Field House ribbon cutting. McIntosh was joined by the Episcopal student body, alumni, athletic supporters and donors in the historic occasion that marked the opening of the first new athletic facility on campus since the ‘80s.
In May of 2018, members of the Episcopal community gathered for the groundbreaking of this new facility which boasts more than 22,000 square feet of space for weight training, cardio training, individual sport locker rooms, coaching offices and collaboration spaces, conference rooms, classrooms, a concession stand and a sports medicine space. Since the summer of ’18, the community has watched in excitement and anticipation as the building progressed.
Ribbon cutting day had a pep rally feel, complete with the Episcopal cheerleaders, dance ensemble and members of the school’s drum corps. Cross country state champion James Christian '20 represented current Episcopal athletes on the stage. He was joined by Adele Broussard ’19 and Van Hiles ’93, who represented alumni athletes. PreK-4 student Isaiah Ricard was also on hand to represent the future of Episcopal athletics.
That future is certainly bright. Field House Lead Donor Todd Graves ’90 congratulated McIntosh on the “bold, challenging and fantastic vision” he had to make the Field House, the Academic Commons and Chapel renovations a reality. Field House Lead Donor Gwen Graves ’88 reminded the Episcopal community that the Field House is for everyone and is a great representation of Episcopal’s whole child philosophy. The two were also pleased that the facility will provide coaching staff the space they need to continue making a difference in the lives of students.
The Episcopal coaching staff, led by Athletic Director Randy Richard, were all smiles as the ribbon was cut. The building will allow them to encourage a focus on health and wellness among Episcopal students of all ages. As Reverend Skully Knight said in his introduction and blessing, the Field House truly is for everyone in every division.
The Field House ribbon cutting does not mark the end of the Spirit • Mind • Body effort at Episcopal. Numerous opportunities to be a part of the campaign remain and can be found here. Episcopal has certainly come a long way since the time 50+ years ago when ten families had a vision for a new, independent school option in Baton Rouge. It will be exciting to see where the next 50 years take us.
Thank you to everyone who made the Field House possible, including members of our Field House Giving Circles. A special thank you to Episcopal Director of Operations John Kojis, Cangelosi Ward General Contractors and Grace Hebert Curtis Architects.
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!
Members of the Episcopal community gathered last week to celebrate an exciting new project – the Episcopal Athletic Field House. Students, donors, school leadership, staff and cheerleaders were on hand for the official groundbreaking ceremony that marks the beginning of construction on the first new athletic building on campus since 1982.
The field house is slated to be a multi-use facility where students of all ages can take physical education classes, participate in strength training and prepare for interscholastic sports. The building boasts 22,637 square feet of space for weight training, cardio training, individual sport locker rooms, coaching offices and collaboration spaces, conference rooms, classrooms, a concession stand, a sports medicine and training area and more.
Erecting a new building on campus would not be possible without the commitment and support of the entire Episcopal community. We were honored to have an array of members representing the Episcopal community participate in the groundbreaking. Participants included: Cameron Dumas ʼ18, 2018 Male Athlete of the Year; Adam Fishbien and Jennifer Price, GraceHebert Architects; Katheryn Flournoy, Board Chair; Gwen Graves ʼ88, Field House Lead Donor and Trustee; Todd Graves ʼ90, Field House Lead Donor and Spirit • Mind • Body Campaign Co-Chair; Ainsley Grigsby ʼ92, Leadership Donor; Victoria Guarisco, Leadership Donor; Hunter Heaslip ʼ18, 2018 Female Athlete of the Year; John Kojis, Director of Operations; Hugh McIntosh, Head of School; Randy Richard, Athletic Director and Robert Ward, Cangelosi Ward General Contractors. For a full list of field house donors click here
We are especially grateful for our field house lead donors Todd ʼ90 and Gwen ʼ88 Graves. The couple, who are Episcopal alumni and parents of current Episcopal students, have generously stepped forward with a tremendous contribution to make the field house a reality. Gwen reiterated that the new facility will serve students from PreK-3 to Upper School and that it truly is a necessity for students and coaches. Todd, who is also the campaign co-chair, recognized the coaches in attendance saying the field house is dedicated to them and the work they do. “Coaches had just as much or even more of an impact on me as my teachers,” the former quarterback and track athlete shared. He went on to say that he learned the value of hard work, respect, leadership and teamwork thanks to the Episcopal coaches.
At Episcopal, we strive to serve the whole child, from spirituality and academics to athletics and the arts. Such an ambitious project as a new field house is needed to better serve our students, who excel in multiple arenas while maintaining academic excellence. This school year, the Knights fielded 62 varsity and sub-varsity teams, with more than 80% of Middle and Upper School students participating in at least one sport. Multiple teams advanced to state-level competitions and several athletes plan to continue their athletic careers into college. Our students truly are thriving on and off the field.