Campus & Facilities
Increase available physical space and facilities
The main school property at Via Aventina 3 (VA3) will continue to be the School’s principal home for
● its prominent role in the St. Stephen’s brand,
● privileged location in the heart of Ancient Rome near the Circus Maximus, the Palatine, the Terme di Caracalla, the Forum, and the Colosseum, and
● support to its educational mission.
Additional factors for maintaining the building as a centerpiece for school activities include:
● the equity invested in the building;
● neighborhood safety;
● the School’s strategic location (including near a Metro station), and
● the dearth of other attractive alternatives based on extensive research.
Zoning restrictions on buildings located in Rome’s Historic City Center, however, prohibit any increase in its size. Notwithstanding the investments made in the building over the years, it is not currently adequate for the multiple purposes for which it is used. After a review of the needs of the School, we intend to renovate areas of the building, so as to ensure fitness-for-purpose.
As we intend to add more boarders (see Objective 1), we will need to identify and, if necessary, secure additional suitable and conveniently located space for boarding accommodations. To the extent we rely on VA3 space for additional boarders (assuming other facilities, such as classrooms, are relocated elsewhere), we plan to render that boarding space more comfortable and usable. And to the extent we identify additional boarding space outside of VA3, we need to appropriately equip it with faculty accommodations and student amenities to ensure an outstanding boarding experience.
Increasing the number of classrooms has become an urgent issue for the School as lack of classroom space has hampered the ability to expand academic offerings and improve the educational experience for students due to the current overcrowding that limits certain learning activities from occurring. In addition, increasing classroom space will positively impact the teaching staff who have expressed frustration over this pressing matter.
Our current athletic program operates with limited on-campus facilities. The small and weather-exposed courts are under enormous pressure as they serve tennis, basketball, and volleyball. Addressing our athletic spaces so that the School will attract athletes (including boarders) in the admissions process and reap the benefits that athletic training and competition can bring will be crucial.
As the VA3 property has reached its maximum capacity of about 300 students, the School’s need for both indoor and outdoor common space has become essential. In particular, the faculty and student lounges are no longer adequate as their square footage is confined, seating limited, and amenities lacking. In addition, the School cafeteria continues to be too small and crowded, and the outdoor terrace needs a substantial upgrade to transform it into a multi-function space to take full advantage of this precious resource.
7. Identify, secure, and invest in additional off-campus space, which could potentially be used for housing boarders, and renovate on-campus boarding facilities.
As a priority matter, with the assistance of an architect, we will evaluate all available real estate options, whether hotels, apartments, or other buildings, and whether for purchase or lease, considering proximity to the School, physical space, security, amenities (including common areas and kitchen facilities), suitability (including for boarding faculty), cost (including for any remodeling), lease terms (if applicable), and other factors. We will then negotiate with the property owners for such properties and work with the architect to make plans for any remodeling to optimize space available for the School’s use and, as appropriate, relocate boarders into these facilities. At the same time, we will renovate the remaining on-campus boarding facilities to provide more appropriate living space with updated furnishings.
8. Optimize space in VA3 to better meet programmatic requirements, including possibly classrooms, and construct better classrooms at any new facility.
In the event that boarders now resident in VA3 are relocated to other locations in facilities already existing or to be identified, the space that will be freed up can be converted into classrooms or other spaces that will be tailored to meet the identified programmatic needs of the School. We will work with our architect to design these spaces and will be fitted with furniture and equipment (see Objective 2) to optimize learning (e.g., for test-taking, group exercises, and classroom discussions) and to allow the optimum flexibility going forward. To the extent that the incoming Head of School’s Master Plan calls for relocating classrooms to an off-campus facility, those classrooms will need to be designed and equipped for state-of-the-art learning.
9. Arrange for negotiated and logistical access to/from local athletic fields and courts.
Based on our research, there appear to be fields or courts (some indoor, which would save us dozens of practice days a year due to rain) that may be available for lease. For any facilities that may be in a state of disrepair, we may be able to negotiate an arrangement by which, in exchange for our agreeing to make any necessary improvements, we can have unrestricted access to them at a discounted rate. Should a given facility be beyond walking distance from the School, we will provide bus transport for the students and coaches to and from the courts or fields at issue. To the extent that the logistics become more complicated, we are prepared to hire a part-time Assistant Athletic Director to provide supplementary support.
10. Assess needs for, devise improvements, and carry out plans to increase indoor and outdoor communal space.
It is imperative that St. Stephen’s treat as a priority the enlargement of communal space available to its faculty, students, and the School community at large. To that end, the incoming Head of School will evaluate where the communal space needs – both inside and outside – are greatest and, as appropriate, hire an architect to draw up plans or otherwise repurpose space to ensure communal areas on campus are entirely adequate. Such areas may include, but are not limited to, the faculty and student lounges, the cafeteria, and the outdoor terrace. The assessment should also consider the adequacy of furniture, equipment, and amenities within those spaces.