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St. Christopher’s to break ground on $16M performing arts center in summer

RICHMOND, Va. — A West End private school is making an eight-figure investment in the arts.

St. Christopher’s School is planning a new $16 million performing arts center that will feature a 450-seat auditorium, and investing $17 million in other construction and endowment projects.

To make way for the 30,000-square-foot facility, the all-boys prep school will raze an outdated wing of the middle school on its campus at 711 St. Christopher’s Road, near the intersection of Libbie and Patterson avenues.

Head of school Mason Lecky said planning for the facility dates back nearly 20 years, but building other projects including a new dining hall and athletic facility took precedence.

A conceptual rendering of the planned auditorium. (St. Christopher’s)

“In 2000 the school crafted a strategic plan and in it we highlighted the importance and vitality of the arts in our overall educational approach,” Lecky said. “About three years ago, the board of governors committed that the next campaign, the next building project would be centered around the arts, and specifically the performance arts.”

He noted that while the other facilities were being built, St. Christopher’s continued to invest in its arts staff and programs, while student participation in those programs has nearly tripled since 2000.

“We now have nearly 60 percent of our boys participating in a performing arts group,” he said. “All those have been numbers steadily increasing over the years to the point where we don’t have room on our campus to showcase them and allow them to rehearse.”

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