Project File: Dramatic interior

St. James Academy, a parochial high school in Lenexa, Kan., is a $15 million investment in local youth. The designers specified exposed, glued laminated timbers for the chapel/dining area in the center of the school, which is seen as a focal point for academic and religious education.

The facility combines education, spirituality and technology. It addresses various forms of education such as independent learning, cooperative learning, teacher-directed learning and spiritual growth for all ages.

Built to accommodate 1,000 students, the school will have 111,000 square feet of space, including 35 classrooms and a library.

Phase I of construction includes the spiritual, academic and fine-arts spaces including classrooms, the chapel, offices, kitchens and a music room. The front third of the gathering hall is reserved for the chapel celebration of mass. It also can open during all-school events.

The roof system in the chapel is double 60-foot exposed Tudor arches. Exterior canopies are on two sides of the building. By using an exposed wood structure, cost savings are achieved by eliminating the need for finishes such as painting and drop ceilings.

The architect for this project is Hollis & Miller Group (Overland Park, Kan.)

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