The Advertiser: ESA preparing enrichment center for Lafayette campus


Photo by Lee Celano, The Advertiser

by: Amanda McElfresh

Click here to see the full article and pictures as well as a video of the interview.

Construction is progressing on a major new part of the Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Lafayette campus.

ESA is building an enrichment center on East Kaliste Saloom Road, directly in front of its school for students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grades.

The site formerly housed LAFCO Boats, which closed several years ago.

“This property sat vacant for years,” said ESA Headmaster Paul Baker. “To turn it into this wonderful facility I think is exciting for the whole Acadiana region.”

Slated to open in January 2017, the center will house ESA’s library and chapel. It also will have spaces for art and science programs, robotics, technology, music, foreign languages and dramatic arts.

While ESA students and staff will primarily use the center, there will be programs open to students from other schools. There also will be training classes for area teachers.

Baker said the school kept some boat factory components as part of the new center. Those include original windows and ductwork.

“We kept the bones so the kids can see that throughout the whole place,” Baker said. “You’re not hiding that. You’re showing it to the kids to maybe inspire their creativity and help them understand how things work.”

Other elements of the center include a skylight, large windows to allow for natural light and open spaces for collaborative work.

“We realized there’s a huge value in that, just having spaces for kids to work on projects,” Baker said.

Kathleen O’Shaughnessy, director of the ESA Lower School, said even the youngest students can pick up on the thought behind such spaces.

“We’re showing we value the work that they do,” she said. “It’s an important space for us and for them.”

Gossen Architects in Lafayette is the designer for the center.