Project File: A school changes; its standards remain

Cardinal Ritter College Preparatory High School, St. Louis, is a Catholic high school with a twist. It is a not-for-profit organization with a board of directors that operates under a management contract with the St. Louis Archdiocese Catholic Education Office. When an aging building, changing neighborhood and funding problems threatened the school's survival, the community offered support to ensure that the school would remain in the center of the city, maintain academic excellence, and continue leadership and faith development for low- and middle-income students.

The result is a new 83,000-square-foot, 16.6-acre campus, with a capacity for 400 students. A two-story masonry building features an arched entry vestibule with a brick tower and special lighting. Its brick construction and metal roof complement the neighborhood's architectural style.

The building includes a commons area, chapel, gymnasium and classrooms. The gymnasium seats 800 and includes retractable bleachers, and the classrooms feature wireless computer connections, cable television and intercoms.

Outdoor athletic facilities include a football field, bleachers with seating for 800, a press box, an eight-lane running track and lighting. A separate athletic building provides an area for ticketing, concessions, team rooms and public restrooms.

Architects for this project are Christner, Inc. in association with Fleming Corporation and Grice Group Architects (St. Louis).

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