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The Academy of the Sacred Heart recently launched a major renovation to the east wing of the Rosary Campus located at 4521 St. Charles Avenue—a wing devoted to science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics curriculum. This space, which runs along the Jena Street side of the school, will connect an Innovation Lab, Makerspace, library, outdoor courtyard, science wing, and performance arts center in a "beautiful new pedagogy of space so essential to global learning," says Headmistress Sr. Melanie Guste, RSCJ.
Development of the new transformational space is driven by Sacred Heart's recently launched five-year Strategic Plan, "Inspiring Faith-Filled Women of Courage and Confidence." "For over 200 years, academic rigor and excellence has marked a Sacred Heart education, a mission encompassing faith, academics, service, community, and life-long learning in over 41 countries of the world," says Sr. Guste. "More than simply a place or a geographic location, our new multidisciplinary STEAM wing positions our girls to be ethical global leaders of tomorrow. It will inspire each girl to explore and understand critical pathways for making a real difference in the world."
The ASH project includes upgrades to three significant areas of the school. The school's existing assembly room will be transformed into a performance arts center, thanks to the generosity of Mr. Richard C. Colton, Jr. It will include a new art gallery that will be used across the curriculum for students of all ages. The exhibit space will feature student art, as well as traveling exhibits to connect students to the global community. The theater will also undergo various upgrades, such as new seating, acoustical improvements, and new lighting, to continue to serve as a multifunctional performance arts center—from student assemblies and theater performances to events for the wider community.
Located behind the performance arts center, Sacred Heart's Mother Soniat Library will be transformed into a "21st century learning commons." In addition to new furniture to promote collaboration and socialization, there will be a deeper integration of technology throughout the library, giving students access to the digital universe through scholarly databases and other cutting-edge online resources. Improvements to the Mother Soniat Library are generously funded by Mr. and Mrs. Shane J. Guidry.
Sacred Heart's Innovation Lab, which is housed inside the Mother Soniat Library, opened in fall 2016 to support the integration of design thinking methodology into the school's curriculum. To the Innovation Lab, the new space will add a Makerspace, which will be outfitted with a 3-D printer, dye cutters, and other materials students can use to tinker, invent, and problem solve using the design thinking process. The Innovation Lab and Makerspace will open to the Sr. Miller Courtyard on Jena Street so that students can utilize both indoor and outdoor learning environments. Improvements to the Innovation Lab and the new Makerspace are generously funded by Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Boh.
The new space is an exciting transformation of Sacred Heart's physical environment, reflecting the integration of the historic architecture and traditions with a contemporary learning space to allow students to dream, discover, and design their future.