In 1909, 102 years ago, STA relocated to the present Windmoor campus on 57th and Main Street. Thirty years ago, STA welcomed its third building, the Goppert Center onto campus. Wednesday, March 23, STA will break ground on its fourth building to complete the Quad, the Chapel of St. Joseph and Windmoor Center.
According to campus ministry director Joe Lascala, the groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. with a prayer service led by the Bishop of archdiocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph, Robert Finn, in the Goppert Center. Students and guests will listen to readings, Bishop Finn’s homily and intercessions.
“It will be like a normal prayer service…students will help in their normal roles,” Lascala said. “[But] we will then do something that we have not done. We will process from the gym to the building site as a community.”
The Bishop will then say a prayer of blessing over the site and sprinkle the site with holy water. According to executive assistant Becky Flores, Bishop Finn, STA board members, members of the STA administration, select students and top donors will then actually break ground. Next, everyone will join as a community, say the Our Father and listen to a closing prayer, according to Lascala. Students will be allowed to dress up for the one hour ceremony and classes will resume afterward.
To Lascala, this ceremony is much more than preparation for the construction of the new building.
“The groundbreaking and this whole process takes the work of everyone,” Lascala said. “The history of groundbreaking ceremonies is that it blesses the work of the people, not just the construction workers who are physically building it, but the donors who helped make it possible, the students and faculty who will make use of the chapel once its complete and God for being present throughout the whole process. This is a time for celebration, that we, as a community, show that we are dedicated to making God and our relationship with Him a focal point.”
Who is invited?
CSJ members, board members, Gould Evans designers, Olsson Associates and large donors, all STA students, faculty, staff, parents and local alumnae
Build me up
Construction workers will begin building the Chapel of St. Joseph and Windmoor Center shortly after the breaking ground ceremony. Construction should last for about ten months, according to president Nan Bone.
Once the building is finished, the chapel will be used for class and alumnae masses, meditations and course gatherings, according to Compton.
The new building will have two names to distinguish the chapel from the classrooms: the Chapel of St. Joseph and the Windmoor Center. There will be entrances from both the parking lot and the Quad, but students will also be able to enter the Quad through sidewalks on either side of the building. The entire building will be made of the same brick as Donnelly Hall, but the Chapel of St. Joseph will be surrounded by a metal lace-shaped sheet, which, according to sttteresasacademy.org, is a significant symbol of the Sisters of St. Jospeh of Carondelet:
“The architects [of the new building] conducted research and learned that St. Teresa of Avila was the patron saint of lace makers, and that in the 1600s the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet began making lace as a source of income and as a tool for women to escape poverty. The artistic tradition of lace making continues today and is considered a vital part of the heritage of the Sisters of St. Joseph.”
The chapel will seat between 150 and 175 people and Bone plans on dedicating the Chapel of St. Joseph and the hallway connecting the parking lot to the quad to special artifacts. For example, Gould Evans designers plan on placing the St. Joseph statue (now located in the west hallway of the Music and Arts building), which was a gift from the father of the first STA graduate, in the hallway. Other additions to the historical displays in the building include Fr. Donnelly’s Bible, antique chalices, other special religious artifacts and possibly digitilized photos of previous STA classes. According to Bone, she wants both students and visitors to experience these artifacts.
“A visitor could come into our lobby and go through the history of our school,” Bone said.
According to Bone, the most unique aspect of the building is that while part of the building will exhibit the 150 years of history at STA, the other part will be filled with the newest technologies of the 21st century. The Windmoor Center will include restrooms, a kitchen and a large area where electronic, folding walls will be able to form up to four high-tech classrooms. Because the classrooms will have no windows, the architects decided to add large windows facing the Quad, so that sunlight would be able to enter the rooms. Bone said that she hopes to work an area in front of these windows for lounge chairs where students can “curl up, read a book and study.”
When it comes to the technologies of these classrooms, Bone is still searching for the tools that will best fit STA’s needs. One program she and principal for academic affairs Barbara McCormick are researching is Blue Valley School District’s Center for Advanced Professional Studies Program (CAPS) where students work with businesses to create projects that they will produce at multimedia rooms at their school, then use in the business.
“We would really like to see our students, down the road, be able to take a semester credit with a business,” Bone said. “It’s taking real world learning and applying it [to school]…it gives [students] a reason for learning.”
As for the actual courses and teachers that will move to the Windmoor Center classrooms, Bone and the administration have made no final decisions. While specifics of the new building are not finalized, Bone feels more excited as the groundbreaking ceremony and construction draw nearer.
“It’s here!” Bone said. “It’s happening! This school is almost 150 years old, it has been about 30 years since we have built a building [on campus]. [Current STA students] are living history- the campus will be a complete quad and it will be just like a college campus.”
Above all, Bone sees the Chapel of St. Joseph and Windmoor Center as a sign of STA’s rapid growth.
“[The new building] says something about us,” Bone said. “[STA has] this rich history, tradition and legacy, but yet we are so vibrant, alive and going forward. It is such an honor to really honor our Catholic heritage.”
Money, money, money
Overall, STA has raised over $4.1 million for the Capital Campaign, which includes the construction of the Chapel of St. Joseph and Windmoor Center, according to executive director of development Mary Beth Compton. Although this amount is already over STA president Nan Bone’s original goal, the development team is still working to raise more money for the campaign.
One of the construction projects that STA will start soon after the groundbreaking ceremony will be the addition of geothermal wells. According to Bone, the wells will be placed deep into the ground, using the Earth’s natural thermal energy to heat and cool the Chapel of St. Joseph and Windmoor Center building.
“The idea of placing geothermal wells on the [STA] campus sparked with the Sisters of St. Joseph,” Bone said. “They were the first group of environmentalists of the [Kansas City] area.”
Although the instillation of the geothermal wells will cost more than that of regular heating and cooling systems, Bone said the wells will save STA about 40 percent in the long run.
“At first, we debated [using geothermal wells],” Bone said. “We were short on funds, but in the end we asked, ‘Is this economically right for this building?’”
According to Bone, “beautification” also played a role in her decision to install the wells.
“[The Chapel of St. Joseph and Windmoor Center] is a smaller building than M&A and Donnelly,” Bone said. “We don’t want [students and teachers] to look down from other buildings and see an air conditioner. A lot of thought went into the look of the building.”
While aesthetics played a major role in Bone’s decision, it all came down to the Sisters of St. Jospeh.
“We felt like [adding geothermal wells] was the right thing to do for the building,” Bone said. “It is dedicated to them. We wanted to reflect their mission.”
Out with the old, in with the new
The administration will renovate the current chapel on the first floor of M&A into a room for drama teacher Shana Prentiss’ theater program after the construction of the Chapel of St. Joseph and Windmoor Center. According to Prentiss, the room will include men and women’s dressing rooms and a makeup counter. Although this room will provide a larger space for musical and play preparation, Prentiss is excited most for the location of the room.
“I am thrilled!” Prentiss said. “[The room] has more space, it is closer to the auditorium, it has windows and it is not connected to the bathroom.’Â
According to STA president Nan Bone, the administration’s long term goal is to move teachers out of the M&A basement.
“We would like the music department to be one one side of the building, and the drama department on the other,” Bone said. “If this happens, we will use [the basement] classrooms when we have to, possibly for resource centers or silent study rooms.”
However, Bone said that although Prentiss will move to the first floor, her plans for the future of the basement are not permanent. She would like to finish construction of the new building before beginning to think about other renovations.
“With [all of these changes], we told the teachers to be open, to just see how it goes,” Bone said.