We are now at the halfway point of that relationship -- a good time for a "state of the union" of sorts -- and I'm thrilled to say it has been an extraordinary first year with very few bumps along the way.
LPA operated had 74 students this year (out of a potential capacity of 90) with two kindergarten classes, one first and one second grade class. Next year, they estimate being at capacity with 120 students, with two kindergarten and first grade, one second and one third grade class. Any questions about the viability of LPA have been answered with a resounding YES and we are thrilled to be a part of that success.
The sharing of space has gone remarkably well. There have been adjustments, to be sure. We are especially grateful to our Sunday School teachers and families, who have adapted wonderfully to sharing of space and to others who have had to adjust. We are also especially grateful to our facilities staff: Rick Edwards, Robert Buckley and Dwight Minor, who have been stretched by the increased usage of the building -- even with LPA having their own custodial staff.
Next year, we will be even cozier and the need for additional classroom space will severely restrict our use of some rooms we have become accustomed to having at our disposal. This year we could use Schuyler Hall on occasion and same with the Guernsey Room. Next year, those spaces will be dedicated classroom and lunchroom space so we will not have use of them during the school year.
This will require some adjustment on our part. Events that had been held in those rooms will now have to be in either the Saturday breakfast room, the gym or the Nave. We got a taste of that this January when we had our inaugural Annual Meeting Eucharist in the Nave on Sunday morning. Starting this Sunday, Adult Christian Formation will shift to the Saturday breakfast room. Events like the Black History Month potluck will have to be relocated (the gym?) or re-visioned for 2015.
There will be other adaptations necessary because of sharing the space. It was noticed last Sunday that the refrigerators in the 4th floor kitchen are now locked -- and we certainly apologize for the inconvenience for people bringing food for the potluck! That was necessary because food the school was storing there had been disappearing. We are making sure our security ministers will always have the key to those so that won't happen again!
These adaptations are a sacrifice. But consider that the tradeoff is not only close to $70,000 that literally keeps our lights on, but providing quality education for 120 children, many of whom are living in poverty. It is not just a choice of economic necessity but a choice for mission.
When I first got here 5+ years ago, one of the most disconcerting things about this space was the dead silence in the Bishop Tuttle Building during the week. Now -- even today as 17 children are in LPA's summer program -- the sound of children is everywhere. I hope you take as much pride in this as I do. I will so miss LPA when they are gone.
And that brings me to the final piece of looking ahead. LPA will be leaving in June, 2015 because they will have outgrown our space. That leaves us with short- and long-term questions and possibilities. I have called together two teams to explore what our options are and make recommendations to Chapter.
The first team -- Laura Lambrix, Jane Mayfield, and Titus Olajide -- are looking at what our short-term options are to replace the $70,000 in income LPA is generating. We realize the BTM is our best asset to use to do this. Our initial hope was that another charter school would be ready to move in and incubate for two years -- given that the space would be move-in ready. We've found the existing charter startups are not interested in being downtown, so while we're keeping that option open I'm asking this group to also look at any other options that will both generate income and also accomplish the even more central purpose of using this space for mission.
The second team -- Tom Gardner, Laura Lambrix (she's busy!) and the Rev. Canon John Kilgore -- are exploring long-term possibilities for the BTM both in terms of financial sustainability and for mission engagement. How do we take this building that served as such a wonderful center for mission and ministry in the 20th century and turn it into an asset for mission and ministry in the 21st century? You'll be hearing more about both these teams' work in the months ahead.
As always, please come to me or any chapter member with comments or questions or ideas. Most important, continue to keep Christ Church Cathedral and our common future in your prayers ... and continue to think and pray on how you can be a part of the ongoing life of Christ here in the heart of downtown St. Louis.