To continue the legacy of excellence that was born in 1970 with the founding of Old Hickory Academy and Episcopal Day School (EDS), then solidified through the 1987 merger that formed USJ, our board of trustees has been heavily engaged in developing a strategic plan. The charge for the plan was to be bold, innovative, and to carry out the vision for USJ to be the best in class in the Southeastern United States.
A key initative from the strategic plan was a campus master plan. The board of trustees commissioned a master plan committee who chose a professional firm to guide the campus master plan. The Knoxville-based firm that was selected, Ross Fowler, has completed projects such as the UT Knoxville Campus Master Plan, the Chattanooga River Park, and the Tennessee Bicentennial Capital Mall.
“We all know that USJ is what it is today because parents who came before us were willing to sacrifice for their children with the goal of giving them the best education in the area," said John Whybrew, Chairman, Board of Trustees.
The master plan took more than 18 months to develop and was adopted by the board of trustees in August 2018.
Enhancing the safety and security of the campus includes fencing the campus access along McClellan Road, additional sidewalks and parking islands and an improved drop- off area. Parking and access improvements are also planned, and the campus will be more pedestrian-friendly.
Updating and replacing worn out facilities will incorporate the use of sustainable materials and architectural features that match the existing campus architecture. Separate playgrounds for toddlers, early childhood, and elementary students will feature the latest innovations in age-appropriate play and fitness equipment.
After 20 years, the use of the campus has changed. A new Lady Bruins sports facility was completed in 2020 to accommodate the many girls’ sports at USJ.
"In addition to the projects that have been completed, we hope to see further improvements to the campus through the Imagine More Campaign with projects focused on new tennis courts, a state of the art golf facility, and the Arbor Project to continue the campus beautification efforts," said Whybrew.
Future campus additions are to include upgrades to the Baseball Facility, a walking trail and outdoor classrooms. Space has been identified to locate a new Arts Conservatory with seating for an audience of 600.
We believe these physical improvements must be balanced with two long-standing USJ priorities. We must keep USJ as affordable as possible; tuition cannot be increased to pay for long-term capital improvements. And always, we must continue to attract, retain, and compensate the best faculty and staff.
Based on these priorities, we must fund these campus improvements with gifts designated to the campaign. To date, we already have raised over $4.8 million dollars.
It will take a cohesive effort to make these goals and improvements a reality, but we believe the possibilities are endless if we all dare to Imagine More!
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