FOR NEARLY 30 YEARS, THE Episcopal School of Dallas (ESD) has sought to expand the minds of its students. But for the next few years, it will be undergoing a major expansion of its own.
The school is knee deep in its Legacy Campaign, a long-range plan that started in 1997 with construction of the school’s new chapel. Building related to the campaign will take place in a number of phases and is expected to continue at least through 2007.
Currently under construction is the Susan M. Frank Center for Arts and Humanities, a 55,000-square-foot facility that will house theaters, classrooms, galleries and studios to be used by all middle and upper school students.
“We’re on schedule with construction, which should be complete close to Thanksgiving,” says Chris Burrow, ESD’s chief financial officer. “Then we’ll move in over the holiday break and be able to use the building for the second half of the year.”
The arts center will allow ESD to offer classes it has never been able to offer before, as well as expand its existing programs. In addition to several new theaters, the building will offer a new darkroom for photography students as well as 11 new humanities classrooms and a gallery to display artwork.
“The hallways in the entire building are designed for display space, for student artwork and visiting artists,” Burrow says.
Before construction is complete on the arts center, work on a new facility should begin sometime this fall: the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Stadium.
The stadium will serve as the school’s main athletic field for football, lacrosse, field hockey, soccer and other sports. It will seat 1,000 spectators and include a press box, locker rooms and a concession area.
After the stadium is complete, a new gymnasium is scheduled, though it’s slatted for three years down the road.
“All these plans are based on a long-range master plan developed in 1996, when we evaluated our facilities and needs, and looked forward to identify specific program enhancements,” Burrow says.
Something that does not play a large part in the plans, despite all the new construction: an increase in student population. None of the new facilities is designed to make room for more students; rather, they’re meant to offer more choices and opportunities to students already enrolled.
“We’re not projecting an increase in students,” Burrow says. “We’re at the optimum student level, which is very important in any school, especially a private one. We’ll just be able to give our students that much better an experience.”
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