(Originally published in the Winter 2022 issue of The Pride)
The journey from a destroyed gymnasium to a state-of-the-art athletic complex will require hundreds of steps and thousands of decisions. Since early 2020, the Athletic Center Planning Committee has been focused on laying the figurative groundwork necessary to begin actual construction.
"At St. Mark’s, we always consider the long-term impact of each decision, and new facilities like this one will benefit the boys and faculty for generations to come,” said Carl Sewell III ’02, St. Mark’s Trustee and Chair of the Athletic Center Planning Committee. “Simply replacing Hicks Gym would solve our immediate needs, but now we have an opportunity to invest significantly in athletics and reshape the entire north end of campus.”
The Board of Trustees recently passed several important milestones on this journey, such as securing approval from the City of Dallas for a conceptual Planned Development Document. This, in turn, allowed the School to immediately start on another important project: repairing and straightening the north fence line and moving it closer to Orchid Lane, thus recapturing valuable square footage for development.
Another significant step came with the selection of major partners for the Athletic Center Project, including CannonDesign, Beck Construction and Architecture, Legends Project Management, Counsilman-Hunsacker pool consultants, and Campus Master Planner Jeff Blanchard, among others. A number of very significant financial commitments have also been made towards the project that affirm the confidence and belief our community members have in the School and the progress to date.
In the latter part of 2021, a group of administrators, Trustees, and professional partners embarked on a field trip to peer schools in the Washington, D.C. area. The group toured several of CannonDesign’s previous athletic projects at Sidwell Friends School, The Potomac School, and Episcopal High School (Alexandria, Virginia).
“Walking through these spaces allowed us to really envision what is possible for St. Mark’s,” said Scott Jolly, Assistant Headmaster for External Affairs. “It has been equally important to invite the architects and designers to our campus and introduce them to St. Mark’s. They understand that this new facility is not just for athletics but for the entire community.”
As 2022 began, the Athletic Center Planning Committee moved the design process forward and began refining plans for the St. Mark’s athletic complex. With several rounds of feedback and insight distilled, project partners are hard at work fine-tuning plans and renderings that will support a new generation of Lions athletics.