After four years of construction, the newly renovated campus will be fully open for learning and worship during the 2021-22 school year, officials announced in a Nov. 1 news release.
A renovated church sanctuary and a renovated Lower School building to house students from kindergarten through fifth grade are already open. Meanwhile, the 85,000-square-foot Shaw Hall, where students in grades six through 12 attend classes, is expected to be move-in ready by January, officials said.
Members of the student body, family members and faculty gathered for a grand reopening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 30 for Shaw Hall, which will also be used as a new Scottish Arts Center named after Donna and Mike Cusack.
“In 2017, Saint Thomas’ Episcopal Church and School experienced nearly complete devastation during Hurricane Harvey as 70% of the church and school were flooded,” Headmaster Mike Cusack said in the news release. “Amidst their own personal tragedies due to the storm, the church and school leadership worked quickly to bring students and church members back to campus through the use of existing and temporary buildings. Since that time, we have had construction in some form happening on campus. We are ecstatic to be finished so students, teachers, staff, families and the church community can enjoy this beautiful campus once again.”
Lower School students were previously using on-campus temporary buildings for their classrooms. Now that the renovated Lower School building is complete, those students have moved in, and Middle School and Upper School students are being housed in the temporary on-campus buildings until Shaw Hall is move-in ready.
Once opened, Shaw Hall will have an array of features, including an archway entrance, a large lobby, maker space, classrooms with smart technology, art classes, commons areas, an outdoor terrace and a semi-underground parking lot, according to the release.
Shaw Hall will be joined by other renovated spaces in January, including a new outdoor pavilion for events and sports, in addition to a new playground for Lower School and pre-K students. In the fall of 2022, the campus will welcome a new sports court for basketball, tennis, volleyball and other games, according to the release.
“This is like a breath of fresh air for us, a rebirth,” said Kelly Cmaidalka, Saint Thomas’ chief business officer. “There’s a lot of excitement from the community.”
The total construction cost is $29 million, funded by donors and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.