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During the breakout sessions of the Town Hall, participants were asked to reflect on our shared values and the design principles we identified during the Campus Master Plan process. Clarifying these values and principles is essential in knowing what we are looking for in potential development partners. Below are the primary takeaways:

  • Need to ensure St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and School (SSECS) values are connected to development principles – how will our values inform and shape decisions we are making?
  • Our Values:
    • Individuality – Diversity/Equity/ Inclusion is more important than Individualism
    • Question everything – We need to better define this value. Relationship with developer will necessitate trust. Questioning everything also adds time to the process.
    • We believe – We need to better define this value, particularly for school families who may not have a faith connection similar to church families.
  • How to strengthen connections between church and school:
    • Space for arts: performing arts (theater space), music space, space for sharing meals.
    • Safety for children is most important; we must prioritize school security.
  • Mixed-use development on site:
    • Housing for the elderly, elderly care + infant care – are there synergies to leverage?
    • Housing for artists/creatives – helps preserve neighborhood character while creating opportunities for arts-based learning for students.
  • The balance between revenue vs. mission:
    • Money is power – need to balance income generation and facility use by nonprofits and other community groups.
    • Must remember we are a church/school that happens to own property. We can’t get distracted and try to act as property managers. Revenue generation can’t overtake our mission.
    • Need to better understand how development will generate revenue and better understand the mechanics of a ground lease.
  • Design principles:
    • Build for the next 100 years; we need to think about sustainability and sturdiness, e.g., carbon neutrality.
    • Beauty that is welcoming; not just aesthetics for the sake of beauty.
    • Concern that the current master plan renderings look boxy and are not aligned with our coziness/welcoming feel.
  • Need for improved communication, so both church and school folks better understand:
    • SSECS’s current financial position
    • Basic real estate terms
    • How proposed redevelopment will generate revenue
    • How proposed redevelopment will benefit church and school

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