Mark Trier, FAIA,
St. James Elementary School | Elizabethtown, Kentucky
In 1921, St. James Elementary School had an enrollment of just 21 students, today they boast almost 500. Due to the significant increase in students over the years, a new campus and facilities were needed to accommodate the growing community, and JRA Architects was chosen to help make that vision come to life.
The creation of a master plan was the first step in a rigorous process of developing that vision for the new 49-acre campus in Elizabethtown. The new school campus was constructed in two phases, the first consisted of all new classrooms, a gymnasium, parish offices, and conference rooms, while the second included a new church, choir practice room, and a space for childcare.
Features of the project include a “cafetorium” where the lunchroom opens to a stage and auditorium to maximize space. A separate drop-off area for the preschoolers allows those who need special assistance preparing for the day more time. A geothermal HVAC system provides a more sustainable, cost-effective method for heating and cooling the school, mitigating the life-cycle costs and environmental impacts of operation.
Over the past century, St. James School has offered quality educational, extracurricular, and religious programs to the community of Elizabethtown, and its all-new campus affords even greater opportunities for today’s students.