Loyola Academy

Campus Improvements
Wilmette, IL
Project Facts
Includes a new natatorium, piazza, and performing arts center.

The Lakota Group
Cannon Design
Terra Engineering
Valenti Builders

Full Case Study:

As part of its strategic vision, Loyola Academy aims to enrich the experience it offers to its students through various campus improvements. Ascent provided implementation guidance for the master plan that supports Loyola’s mission & vision.

Client Background

Loyola Academy was founded in Chicago over a century ago as a Jesuit college preparatory school for young men. Today, Loyola’s co-ed campus is located north of Chicago in Wilmette, IL, and is one of the largest private Jesuit high schools in the United States. Serving up to 2,000 students each year, Loyola Academy’s mission is to form women and men for meaningful lives of leadership and service in imitation of Jesus Christ through a college preparatory education in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition. In December 2012, Loyola Academy published a new strategic vision which included a master plan designed to position Loyola as the leading Jesuit, college preparatory faith and education center in the nation. To bring this vision to life they launched the Second Century Campaign, which includes a set of strategic priorities designed to generate support for a second century of excellence at Loyola Academy.

About the Project

Loyola Academy’s Master Plan identifies both physical and operational improvements necessary over the next decade to support and enhance its programs and services. Loyola is focused on three key projects that align directly with its mission to provide a well-rounded education:

1. Replacement of its existing natatorium with a new aquatic center with competition-size pool

2. Addition of a central ‘piazza’ gathering space designed to set the stage for the school’s renaissance in arts programming

3. Introduction of a new, 550-600 seat performing arts center for expanded arts programming

The plan is also designed to improve campus functionality, safety and security, access and circulation, traffic congestion, parking, buffering and aesthetics and stormwater detention.
Campus improvements were phased strategically to grow momentum. The $20M Phase I of development began in Spring 2018 and was completed in September 2019, and includes a new aquatic center, indoor piazza and extensive site improvements. Loyola Academy selected the Lakota Group for master planning and neighborhood engagement, Cannon Design to design the natatorium and piazza, and Valenti Builders for construction management. Phase 2 will include a $25M performing arts center, pending funding.

With a desire to grow momentum for their planned campus improvements, Loyola Academy looked to Ascent to help establish a clear program and comprehensive plan to implement their vision while meeting budget and schedule goals.

How does Ascent Help?
As program manager, Ascent advised Loyola Academy on critical development decisions that impact the project goals, schedule and budget. Ascent’s services include:

– Assess needs and develop comprehensive program management plan

– Establish and maintain master budget and schedule

– Develop and manage project team, including architect, construction manager, and specialty consultants

– Administer contract, financial controls and reporting, and risk management

– Manage the project day-to-day

By expanding its physical education and arts facilities, Loyola supports its commitment to providing a holistic learning community that balances academic excellence with physical health and cultural enrichment. Successful completion of the projects identified in the Second Century Master Plan is generating confidence and excitement for Loyola’s ongoing fundraising campaign. Completed improvements include a new natatorium, parking, and site circulation improvements that benefit the school and surrounding community. These improved facilities will allow Loyola to host aquatic and arts events, raising its visibility in the community and providing additional opportunities for student leadership. The theater fundraising campaign continues.

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