ONE STM – One Communty of both Church and School” was a master planning project with the St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Prior to starting the master planning process, the new Pastor and the new Principal collectively determined three basic things about the St. Thomas More Community:
That the new congregation that recently merged with the parish brought a new and diverse group of people to the parish.
That the school was in good shape educationally, but enrollment was declining, and that the potential for growth in curriculum was limited by old buildings, campus flooding, and space.
That these disparate communities were all on the same site, but had become somewhat disconnected over the years as the communities had changed. With the desire to reconnect the communities and address the concerns of the site, the design team underwent a visioning process which engaged the community - including Parish leaders, parishioners, teachers, parents, faculty and staff. This involved multiple committee sessions, a parish-wide online survey, and community meetings. Community members participated in planning charettes to provide input and feedback throughout master plan development, to make sure that the plan reflects ‘One STM’.
The proposal of a new campus master plan seeks to resolve expressed deficiencies through development of the following:
• The construction of a new Church Office between the Church and Activity Center. The new location of the office allows for better connection to the rest of the campus.
• The demolition of the existing Church Office, renovation of the Church plaza, and redevelopment of church parking. This allows for more parking directly in front of the church, provides an updated gathering space at the church entrance with seating and landscaped areas, and allows for better site drainage in this area of the campus.
• Construction of a new school building for Elementary students. The location of this new building delineates a new perimeter for the campus, increasing site security while allowing for a better carpool flow during pickup and dropoff.
• Demolition of the existing K-4 building, which would open up the middle of the campus and create a new central ‘quad’ community green, visually connecting church buildings and school buildings and allowing better circulation through all areas of the campus. • Other improved spaces include a new memorial garden for outdoor worship, a new pavilion connection to the cafeteria for outdoor dining, improvements to the STM sports field, and an expansion to the existing Preschool building.
This master plan will be a tool for the STM Community to guide priority of future projects, raise funds, leverage technology to enhance learning and worship, plan for growth, and effectively maintain a cohesive campus.