St. Francis Episcopal Day School is growing in the following ways:
| 2300 South Piney Point Road
A bird’s-eye view of the most current architectural renderings of the South Campus, with two athletics fields, a gymnasium, three Primary School cottages, and the existing main house nestled in the middle of 23 gorgeous acres.
The Athletics Vision
“The new South Campus will provide our student-athletes, coaches, and teams with the facilities needed for a premiere athletics program. It will enable all of our teams to practice on one of our two campuses, and provide the quality and space needed for accelerated success in athletics. I am excited beyond words about the positive impact the South Campus will have on the St. Francis school and church community.”
—Don Hicks, Director of Physical Education & Athletics
The Primary School Vision
“Our program in Primary School is innovative and unique, carried out by highly skilled, nurturing educators. Our current facility prevents us from fully implementing our vision. A key component of a Reggio-inspired approach is the importance of the classroom itself. In addition, our mission promises 'an academically and spiritually stimulating environment.'
“Although our teachers and curriculum support the mission, our current facility prevents us from reaching our fullest potential. It is my hope that St. Francis Primary School would be widely known as a model early childhood program where children flourish and as a place for educators to visit and learn about dynamic, research-based instruction that facilitates 21st century skills. We need a facility that reflects our dedication and commitment to excellence in early childhood education and contributes to the learning and experience of our youngest St. Francis students and their families.”
—Michelle Symonds, Head of Primary School
What It Means For Our Students
- Gymnasium Complex
Two Regulation Athletics Fields
- Gymnasium with wood floors and bleachers
- Wrestling room
- Dance studio
- Hall of Fame
- Football and lacrosse regulation field
- Field hockey and soccer regulation field
- Field bleachers and scoreboards
- Primary School Facilities
- 3 Cottages: Administration/Enrichment & Pre-Primary; Primary I; and Primary II
- Enrichment classrooms for Motor, Spanish, Drama, and Music
- Chapel space
- Attached educational play yards
- Expanded Primary library
- Primary School Outdoor Classroom
- Alumni and Academic Building
- Lower and Middle School academic space
- Lower and Middle School Outdoor Classroom
- Creekside classroom extension and nature trails
- An addition will provide space for administrative offices, while freeing up space on our current campus for academic use
- Housed in the historic 1864 home currently known as the Richmond House
- Primary School Admissions Office
- Housed in the former Law Office
- Andrews House
- Reception and entertainment areas
- Planning and meeting rooms
- An addition will provide space for the Business Office, while freeing up space on our current campus for academic use
- Housed in the former home of Fred and Mary Frances Couper
Through good planning, an emphasis on teaching core subjects in an extraordinary way, and a realization that happy kids are more engaged, our school has grown in both quality and enrollment. In fact, we’ve grown to such an extent that our facilities can’t adequately support our needs. When our first building was constructed in the 1950s, St. Francis simply wasn't designed to support a renowned fine arts program, more than 800 students in three separate divisions, or a top-flight athletics program. And yet, because of ingenuity, hard work, determination, and the dreams of those who have gone before us, we do. In fact, we have become the largest K–8 Episcopal parish day school in the United States.
Adequate facilities do not guarantee a successful program, but no school can have a successful program without the right facilities. In fact, research shows that when a school’s facilities don’t meet its needs, academics are the first to suffer. St. Francis’ Board of Trustees, administration, and faculty and staff are determined to safeguard St. Francis' emphasis on excellence. Our purchase of the new South Piney Point property in May 2011 was one step toward maintaining our exceptional academics, and our plan to develop athletics fields, gymnasiums, and Primary School buildings is another. While we are constructing sports facilities and playgrounds, what we are truly creating is scholastic achievement and world-class opportunities. For example:
- The current gym and field do not meet the needs of our Middle School Athletics Program or of our Sports Association program. Considering the size of the athletics program we offer (fielding approximately 40 teams each year!), we have the most restrictive facilities in the conference. The new South Campus will provide space for two additional athletic fields for field hockey, lacrosse, football, and soccer, as well as a new gymnasium complex which will include a wrestling room, a dance studio, locker rooms, and a stand for sales of concessions and Wolf Wear.
- More than 50 years old, our current Primary School buildings are the most expensive to operate and are in real need of improvement. While our Primary School teachers have done an excellent job of making them work, just imagine what could be done with facilities that are as dynamic and innovative as our Reggio-inspired curriculum! We now have the opportunity to design and build facilities that will allow our program to flourish and will meet the developmental needs of our youngest students while inspiring their creativity and imagination.
- The Lower and Middle School Academic Building will allow faculty to hold off-site classes periodically so that students can study a variety of subjects in-depth, in a unique environment that encourages primary source learning.
- Outdoor education is a priority at St. Francis. Providing opportunities for students to connect with nature is not only creatively inspiring for children but also academically stimulating in a variety of ways. Furthermore, the St. Francis emphasis on being people for others includes learning the importance of taking care of our natural environment in responsible ways.
Since we bought the property, we have been in conversation with architects, builders, and families in our community, seeking feedback on and making strategic plans for our new South Campus in particular and our school as a whole. The Board of Trustees is excited about moving forward with construction on the South Campus; however, we will not break ground until an approved financial, building, and fundraising plan is in place. Once the plans are approved, the Board will share the proposed construction timeline with the St. Francis community.
About the Property
Encompassing 23 beautiful acres, our new South Campus is located less than two miles from our current campus at 2300 South Piney Point Road. Its proximity to our North Campus, its natural beauty, and its historic significance make the property ideal for St. Francis Episcopal Day School. The property was among the three hundred original land grants that Stephen F. Austin settled in 1825 and was described in the original Mexican land grant as being on Arroyo Cibolo (Buffalo Bayou) at the place called “Punto-Pina” (Piney Point).
Located on the property are three beautiful structures: the Andrews House, the former law office, and the Richmond House. Each of these will be renovated to serve a special purpose on St. Francis' South Campus.
Architect William Giddings Farrington designed the Andrews House as a replica of The Linden, an elegant antebellum plantation in Natchez, Mississippi. The home was built on 30 acres by Mr. and Mrs. John Marshall, who later sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Fred T. Couper. The Andrews House remained a showcase attraction at 2300 South Piney Point Road into the late 1990s. It will house reception and entertainment areas and rooms for planning and meeting. An addition to the building will also provide space for our Business Office, while freeing up space on our current campus for academic use and a new Lower School Office.
The Law Office
Former owner Fred Thompson Couper Jr. used this building as his law office when he was in private practice as an attorney. Folklore holds that this building was once a former horse stable. The Law Office will be used as the Primary School Admissions Office.
The Richmond House
One of the renowned houses in the history of Fort Bend County, the Richmond House was built in 1864. Otherwise known as “Old Richmond,” composers, county sheriffs, ranchers, and doctors have all called it “home” at various times in its history. In 1974, Loise Wessendorff gave the Richmond House to her cousin Mary Frances Bowles Couper, who moved it to 2300 South Piney Point Road and subsequently restored it. The Richmond House will serve as an Alumni and Academic Building, providing Lower and Middle School academic space and reception and entertainment space for alumni. An addition to the Richmond House will provide space for administrative offices, while freeing up space on our current campus for academic use.