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.James Kirkland, Chairman of the USJ Board, observed “Time and time again USJ parents have stepped forward to bring about something more for our children. Today we have a wonderful facility and a school that has proven to be a remarkable success. To continue that success we have to continue to imagine more, continue to improve our facilities, and continue to be good stewards.”
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 will be built to accommodate the many girls’ sports at USJ. A new tennis complex will be located on the east side of the campus.
Future campus additions are to include a walking trail and outdoor classrooms. Space has been identified to locate a new Arts Conservatory with seating for an audience of 600.
“As you can see, we did Imagine More for our children in the campus master plan,” says Board Chairman Kirkland.
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 by fundraising. The goal over the next four years is to raise four million dollars. We already have over 60 commitments totaling over $2.1 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!