Architectural firm hired for new Catholic high school

Thursday, December 20, 2007 | 8:25 p.m. CST; updated 6:47 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 10, 2011

COLUMBIA — City architectural firm Peckham and Wright Architects Inc. has been chosen to design Columbia’s future regional Catholic high school.

St. Louis firm Mitchell and Hugeback will partner with Peckham and Wright, and Columbia firm Allstate Consulting will do civil engineering for the project. Allstate has been involved with much of the work already done on the future school site, on Gans Road between U.S. 63 and Bearfield Road.

Volunteer project director Ray Beck said 10 firms showed interest in the architectural work, and four submitted proposals to the planning committee.

Beck said choosing Columbia firms with experience on similar projects was important.

“Hugeback and Allstate both have experience designing high schools of faith,” Beck said.

Beck said all of the architects were excited about the site and thought it would be excellent for a high school.

Chris Davis, vice president of Peckham and Wright, said his firm has never built a high school before, but Mitchell and Hugeback’s experience with private and public schools and Allstate Consulting’s knowledge of the site should make their first venture a success.

“Our firm is honored to be involved with this significant high school in our own community,” Davis said. “We take this work very seriously and are excited to see the project through.”

Beck said no date of completion can be established for the school until the planning committee and all involved firms get an opportunity to bring plans together, develop detailed cost estimates and continue fundraising. So far, about $5.8 million has been pledged.

So far, every parish in the diocese has contributed some funding, but most pledges have come from the Columbia community.

Beck said everyone who has talked to him about the high school is excited it will be in Columbia. He estimated the school would initially serve ninth and 10th grades and start off with a little more than 100 students enrolled.

Beck cited a recent article in Forbes magazine that named Columbia one of the top 20 U.S. cities in which to educate a child but gave the city a C-plus rating in private school options. He thinks the addition of this school will help fill that need.

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