Friday, December 29, 2000, Vol. 114, No. 250

St St. Georges school to build new campus By SUE PEASE The Daily News The Schools of St. Georges will be experiencing a growth spurt next year as it begins construction of a new middle and high school campus in Collierville. In April, St. Georges Schools will begin building the new school at 1880 Wolf River Blvd. The organization has always been an elementary school 3-year-olds through sixth grade students with its campus at 8250 Poplar Ave. in Germantown. Choosing a location for an upper grade school took some research, said Chris Norris, executive director of St. Georges Schools Foundation. Because they didnt want to go too far from their existing location in order to continue serving current families, Yacoubian Research conducted a feasibility and demographic study and pinpointed the area at Houston Levee Road and Wolf River Boulevard to be the best location. "At the same time, a very nice family was gifting the piece of property, so it just sort of confirmed it was a good piece to get for us," Norris said. St. Georges will also be opening up a second elementary school in Memphis, but its location has not been confirmed yet. The second elementary school will have an additional mission to serve a wider economic level of family, Norris said. The Collierville campus will sit on 128 acres bounded on the northern side by the Wolf River, an area Norris called an "environmental playground." While planning the development, they worked hard to keep the environmental sensitivity intact, Norris said. Administrators hope to include the natural setting as part of students studies. "The property has everything. Its got wetlands, a lot of different ecosystems, a lot of history associated with it. That will all become a part of our curriculum. We will be heavy into the environmental sciences and hopefully, studies of the Wolf River," she said. The organization has a heavy technology focus, too. Norris said the new school also would lean heavily in technology education. Construction will occur in phases and the cost for the first phase is $15 million. The first phase will include one wing of the campus that will house both middle and high school grades and when enrollment grows, the next phase will be built. It will house a second wing including a second gymnasium and a performing arts center. The first phase will include a 125-seat chapel and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The school at full enrollment will serve 700 students. Tuition for the coeducational school will be based on the operating budget that has not yet been determined, but tuition fees for the Germantown campus are upwards of $8,000 per year. The foundation has raised about $19 million so far for the additional schools, a portion of that is going toward the new elementary school. Expected completion date for the Collierville campus is May 2002. MCDR Inc. is the general contractor and Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects Inc. is the architectural firm for the project. Marianna Dando, contract administrator for MCDR, said the firm is accepting sub-bids for the project through Jan. 11. St. Georges Norris said she is excited about the new private school because it is positioning itself as a community school. "We are also excited about being a community school where we are open all the time practically and we are open to other groups in the community. We can offer courses in the evenings or in the summer," Norris said. "We hope to be able to use private funding in public ways for both students, children and adults. Wed like to team up with other corporations and organizations to provide programming."