Villa Academy is an independent Catholic School that occupies a campus of historic buildings designed by architect John Graham in 1922 and 1927. The brick masonry school was once an orphanage and convent. Bassetti was initially hired in 2001 to help create a phased, long-range master plan with associated capital campaign projections to foster educational and environmental qualities. Working intensively with staff and board members, Bassetti facilitated a process that established project design values, analyzed existing school patterns, identified City building code issues, conducted meetings with neighbors, and presented development feasibility alternatives for Board approval. We have since worked with the school to implement the phased master plan.
Notably, the master plan separates vehicular traffic from the children’s learning environment. With this change, an identifiable educational zone is created, student safety is improved, traffic congestion is ameliorated, and the historic buildings’ elegant front facades are reactivated. To maximize space efficiencies within the existing buildings, Bassetti first reorganized and consolidated each grade level, including the planning of an early childhood learning center. New building construction and other site improvements were then identified so the school could function better and expand its educational programs.
Other projects for the school include: an upgrade to the existing library; a 5,000 SF brick masonry, covered-play structure that seamlessly integrates into the historic campus; and an upgraded preschool.