St. Croix Prep set for $5 million expansion: project includes new classrooms, athletic facilities, performing arts space

BAYTOWN TOWNSHIP — St. Croix Preparatory Academy (SCPA) is embarking on a $5 million, 23,000-square-foot expansion of its facilities that includes new classrooms, athletic facilities and a performing arts space.

The project is being paid for by bonds from private investors and has no cost to taxpayers, school officials said.

“We’ve been fortunate to have our enrollment grow quickly creating this immediate need to provide the appropriate facilities to support our programming,” said SCPA Executive Director Jon Gutierrez.

The school currently serves 1,100 students and expects to reach full enrollment of 1,170 students in the next two years.

The expansion focuses on two parts: a performing arts space and a two-story addition will extend from the lunchroom to the gymnasium.

The performing arts building will seat 250 to 300 people so concerts, plays, and musicals can be performed without interfering with the activities in the gym space such as physical education classes and other events. This arts center would also host future meetings, assemblies and community events.

The other project, the two-story addition, includes a cafeteria expansion, conference room and other staff rooms. It will also have boys’ and girls’ locker rooms and weight room on the first floor.

SCPA officials said the locker room expansions are for the convenience of their student athletes but they also hope it encourages more public use of their facilities.

“We’re adding the locker rooms and showers so our upper school students (grades 9 through 12) can have varsity practices in the morning before school at 9:30, have practice, hit the showers and go to class.” Gutierrez said. “With the expansion the community will be able to use the facilities and it will remain open to the public. Right now we have scouts, recreational and AAU basketball teams and we hope the locker rooms will increase the use and be a benefit for the community.”

The second floor portion of the project includes six middle school classrooms and a new science lab. Currently the middle school (grades 5 through 8) and the upper school intersect when students go to their classes since subjects taught in these grades are spread throughout the second floor of the building.

“We’ll add these classrooms to the middle school side so that our middle school classrooms can be closer together and isolate the schools from each other in some way,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez looks forward to the new additions allowing the school to enhance extracurricular offerings.

“The addition will provide the space necessary to enhance our academic offering and increase the athletic and arts opportunities for our students. These facilities will help us support our mission to develop each student’s academic potential, personal character and leadership qualities.” He said.

Construction on the project begins in September and is expected to be completed in February 2013.