Last week we traveled to Texas to visit our two campuses there. Read on for a summary and photos of the trip...
Day One: On Tuesday, we met with Pastor Stephen Apt, campus pastor at Divine Savior Church - Santa Rita Ranch. Their congregation is currently meeting in rented facilities until construction is complete in Summer 2020. Pastor Apt gave us an update of what their congregation is doing in their community as they seek to plant gospel seeds in Liberty Hill, Texas (Liberty Hill is the name of the city in which the development of Santa Rita Ranch is located).
In the afternoon, a local construction company led us on tours of two schools in the Liberty Hill School District. Our lead architect and our interior designer joined us on these tours to gather ideas as we move into picking finishes, lighting, hardware, and the many other details of our new building. We also were able to ask local experts about the construction process and school administrators about parent expectations and their experience with the school building process.
Our lead architect Jason and our interior designer Kirsten are from Somerville Architects. This talented group has been such a blessing to our ministry, having designed our Doral high school expansion and our Delray Beach campus. They also did the interior design for our Sienna renovation last summer. We're excited to have them working on our newest campus in Austin. We took them on a tour of Santa Rita Ranch, the development where our campus will be located.
Day Two: We spent Wednesday morning in Austin around the table and the plans for the new campus. We fine-tuned details, talked finishes, and discussed ways to value engineer our building to keep things on budget and on schedule. In the afternoon, we drove from Austin to Houston to begin the second leg of our trip at our Sienna Plantation campus. The drive gives us time to knock out a few conference calls, while enjoying the great wide open views of the Texas countryside. :)
After arriving in Houston, we met with Principal Pat Cortright, Assistant Principal Jake Unke, Pastor Dave Bivens, and School Council member Pete Palmer. Together we toured the Sienna campus, as well as talked about needs for expansion and future site planning. The current campus is running out of classroom space as enrollment climbs and has needs for a cafeteria, bigger gym, and educational spaces like science labs, fine arts rooms, and administrative offices.
Day Three: We began site planning Sienna's 16+ acres of property. Careful attention is being paid not only to immediate needs, but also to the future needs of the church and the academy. Beyond worship and educational facilities, we considered parking and circulation, recreational and athletic fields, and office space. Our team spent time touring Sienna Plantation to get a feel for the community's design requirements and to see local churches and schools. We had an introductory meeting with the Sienna Plantation HOA to discuss how we can meet our community's needs and to receive guidance in the planning process. We were excited to learn that this development is the number one selling master planned community in Houston and the number two fastest-growing in the entire state of Texas. The community currently has 7800 homes, with 6500 more plots left in the community to be built (estimated over the next 12 years). Divine Savior - Sienna Plantation is located in the heart of this development...we couldn't have been blessed with a more dynamic, centralized location!
We thank God for safe travels, a productive trip, and for the partnership of our Divine Savior Family in Texas. It's a blessing to be able to do more ministry together, and we pray for his continued blessing and for wisdom in planning for our growing ministries.
To God be the glory!