One of the key priorities in our Forward in Faith strategic plan is to provide the best learning environment possible to meet the needs of our students today and into the future. To this end, the faculty and administration of Lutheran South have been working through a Campus Master Plan to design the facilities that South requires to meet these needs while also addressing any issues found in an earlier facilities assessment. This work has progressed to the point that a clear, "recommended" layout for the school has emerged that best meets the diverse set of needs.
Before finalizing the Campus Master Plan, a Community Input Forum was held in December to gather input and insights from our community. For those of you who were unable to join us, below is an account of the needs and improvements that were discussed, as well as the rough, block drawings for the proposed building layout. This is a work in progress, but details what the future looks like at Lutheran South.
Joel Gandt (LS '77), principal with Zwick + Gandt Architecture, shared various layout options for the proposed additions and renovations on campus that have been developed and reviewed with the administration. From the feedback we've received, there is one layout that is clearly favored and is currently being developed further.
A high priority is to have a more visually striking main entrance to the school and to locate the administrative offices near that entrance, including an appropriate, dedicated space for Admissions. This will provide improved visual control on who enters the building and will locate public and parent resources near this point. The overall external appearance and "curb appeal" of the building is also a critical consideration to our designs.
While various options were considered for use of the existing main gym space, the new plan retains this space as our varsity competition gym. Seating will be expanded at the west end of the court, and a reception/viewing room overlooking the north bleachers will be added on a second-floor area. The demands of our sports and activities strain our current facility with only one reduced-size practice court (in the Kuhlmann Center). As a result, a new practice gym with two courts is proposed. Rounding out support for the athletics program will be new locker rooms and officials changing areas, an expanded weight room, a new fitness room, and a multi-purpose dance studio space.
A new theater/auditorium also is proposed to provide a proper space to hold daily worship and other student assemblies and speaker events and to provide our fine arts programs with an appropriate venue for performances. This space will seat at least 700 in order to accommodate the entire, planned student body and faculty.
The middle part of the current school building will be converted into a two-story building. This keeps the campus footprint smaller and avoids excessive "sprawl" of the building and increased transition times for students. In keeping with the spaces that best support the Flex-Mod scheduling method, spaces for faculty offices and student study areas for individuals, groups and team/projects will be consolidated into the center of the academic part of the campus. These areas will adjoin the cafeteria area, which will be remodeled with more appropriate seating options to support student dining and study needs. The resource services area and counseling offices will be located above this with stairs directly connecting these areas, placing students at the center of the school!
New dedicated spaces will be included for the music programs with band and choir rooms. The new two-story design of the building will allow for the creation of rooms with proper acoustics, as well. Other programs that have been added in recent years need additional spaces with special considerations, including STEAM (pre-engineering, design, art), Health Careers, and Broadcasting. The modern demands on our science program and the associated labs also require expanded spaces.
The original two-story classroom building will be renovated and tied into the new part of the campus with upgraded systems, including improved HVAC systems and updated electrical systems to meet the demands of technology and improved lighting. The spaces will be outfitted with modern furnishings and instructional aids.
Along with these new designs will be space that allows for art displays, expanded restroom facilities, and an increased capacity for community use, which will help support our local Lutheran schools. Because the building will expand slightly to the north, new parking and improved access will be added using the vacant land currently there. The tennis courts that have fallen into disrepair will be retained and restored as part of this plan, as well.
This is an exciting time to be a part of Lutheran South. We hope you will join us in our enthusiasm and passion for our school.
Alan Runge, President