St. John's College High School: Master Plan and Building Projects 19

St. John’s College High School: Master Plan and Implementation

Washington, DC, USA

A generation of planning, upgrades, and new design for a venerable independent school and sports powerhouse in Washington, DC.

Perkins Eastman developed a 20-year campus master plan for this existing 1,100-student co-educational Catholic high school, which sits on 16 acres adjacent to DC’s Rock Creek Park. The plan responds to the school’s desire to address the growing academic needs of its students, expanded accessibility across its campus, and infrastructure upgrades to it aging, 1950s-era buildings.

Project Facts

  • Client:

  • St. John's College High School
  • Size:

  • 145,000 sf
  • Sustainability :

  • LEED Gold Certified
  • Services:

  • Architecture, Campus Planning
  • Markets:

  • K-12 Education
  • Region:

  • United States
  • Studios:

  • Washington, D.C.

    Once the master plan was completed in 2010, its first order of business was outlining the renovation of its existing facilities. Next, the team began implementing the full design and construction for the school’s new facilities that would total eight new building and renovation projects over the following eight years for a total construction budget of over $50 million. We produced a dedicated athletic master plan in 2016.

    In all, the new projects include a performing arts center, student center, a library renovation and expansion, a major renovation and expansion of the athletic center, new and renovated playing fields, new baseball and football field pavilions and a donors’ plaza, a cafeteria expansion, and improvements to the campus buildings’ classroom and academic support spaces.

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    The expanded St. John’s College High School includes a new student center and courtyard, above center, a performing arts wing with a green roof, right foreground, and a new cafeteria and library with outdoor terraces and their own driveway and field-side entrance, left.

    The first project to be executed under the master plan was a new entrance at 27th Street in 2011. Visitors to St. John’s College High School first see its bold new school signage as they approach, and then come through an expanded portico (above) where they are welcomed into a renovated lobby and corridor.

    Students enjoy the expanded 15,000 sf cafeteria and library, completed in 2012, which have new field-side entrances and a book store. They both have window walls and terraces that command panoramic views of the sport fields and Rock Creek Park. The cafeteria has an expanded dining area and outdoor terrace (with a relocation of the loading dock, which makes deliveries more convenient but unobtrusive), while the library has completely renovated interiors with a design that will support a future expansion with minimal added costs.

    Cafeteria/Terrace

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    Library/Bookstore

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    Field Pavilions

    New field pavilions for the baseball and football programs were completed in 2013. With a total of 4,000 sf, they provide coaches’ offices, team lockers, ticket office, concessions, a press-box and viewing areas, and VIP boxes overlooking the sport fields and stadium.

    This phase also delivered a new stadium entrance and gateway that open onto a donor’s plaza with new outdoor seating, access to spectator stands, and a panoramic terrace where donors can watch the games and attend receptions.

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    Performing Arts Center

    The new 15,000 sf performing arts wing opened in 2015, providing modernized and expanded space for the music department with dedicated choir, orchestra and band rooms, practice rooms, and faculty offices. It also houses a new art studio with a patio for outdoor teaching and student projects. Additionally, the new wing includes three acoustically designed performance classrooms, three academic classrooms, and voluminous storage for multiple bands and hundreds of instruments.

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    Student Center

    Next came the new 8,000 sf student center and courtyard in 2016 whose focal point is a modern steel-and-glass student walk that connects the student center to the main academic wing. It contains the campus ministry center, student lounge, a new theater complex with a black-box theater, and additional office and conference space for faculty and staff.

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    Athletic Master Plan

    We produced an Athletic Master Plan in 2016 to address the schools’ growing athletic programs and long-term needs. It establishes a vision for facilities that will aid in transforming the on-campus experience for the entire St. John’s community; it looks beyond the athletics-focused facilities to create a better campus environment for the students, the faculty, and the campus’s neighbors. The plan, to be implemented in various phases, includes:

    • sport field relocation and improvements
    • a new outdoor practice field in synthetic turf (already completed)
    • expansion of the existing multi-sport stadium to include a 400-meter, eight-land Olympic competition track with an infield that can accommodate football, soccer, and lacrosse events
    • a new baseball stadium with dugouts, 800-seat spectator stands, restrooms, VIP and game-viewing rooms overlooking the field, and an underground clubhouse with locker and training facilities

    Gym Renovations, Expansion

    The focus of the Athletic Master plan was the major expansion of the school’s athletic facilities, which was completed in the Fall of 2020. It features a renovation and expansion of the original 1950s Gallagher Gymnasium and the 1990s Roth Gymnasium addition, totaling 96,000 sf of new space within the buildings.

    The project was envisioned as a modern interpretation of the existing school’s architectural language and material palette that is also responsive to, and in harmony with, the recent and previous master-plan projects that have already been completed.

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    The work includes:

    • a new entrance and public spaces (above)
    • collegiate-level basketball and volleyball environments
    • new crew and wrestling rooms
    • locker rooms and offices
    • state-of-the-art strength and conditioning center for 800-plus student athletes
    • training and practice facilities geared toward specific sports
    • indoor turf practice area
    • recovery immersion tubs
    • a medicine suite
    • existing tennis courts replaced with rooftop courts
    • a new Innovation Center with flexible student club space, a tiered classroom, and social spaces for students, faculty, and alumni
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    Still to come is a project to replace the school’s large surface parking lot with a collegiate-like green quad that will connect the school with its athletic fields and facilities. The parking lot, in turn, will be moved underneath the existing soccer field, which will be turned into the planned new baseball stadium. Elevator and at-grade pedestrian connections will offer easy access to the new parking structure.