St. Louis Prep School Opens Completed Fine Arts Center
(11/03/2011)

Credit: Sam Fentress Photography

ST. LOUIS — Chaminade College Prepatory School in St. Louis opened the doors to its new performing and fine arts center — a $17.5 million, 80,000-square-foot facility designed to support a variety of arts educational programs.

The two-story Skip Viragh Center for the Arts’ ground floor houses a 1,000-seat auditorium with orchestra pit, a 150-seat block box theater and scene shop. The ground floor also features studios for ceramics, drawing and glass teaching.

The center’s second floor features jazz and band rehearsal rooms, a graphics design studio, a photography darkroom and classrooms.

The Chaminade Drama Department hosts a minimum of three main stage productions every year, with two full-stage production plays and an annual musical.

The project was funded with a $28 million gift from the Viragh family.

The school held a grand opening event featuring a public performance by the St. Louis Symphony, sponsored by project contractor S. M. Wilson & Co., a St. Louis-based construction management, design/build and contracting firm. St. Louis-based Hastings & Chivetta served as the architect.

“This is a spectacular new facility for the faculty, students, parents and alumni of Chaminade as well as the entire community,” said Scott Wilson, president of S. M. Wilson.

The mission of the private prep school’s Fine Arts department follows a Catholic Marianist tradition to “cultivate the spiritual, intellectual, creative, and aesthetic sensibilities of every student” through music, performing arts, and visual arts,” according to the school’s website.

The program aims to focus on craft — the physical, technical, hands-on nature of the arts, critique — the verbal and written articulation of artists’ ideas about art, and its appreciation and history.

The school offers more than ten different music ensembles, including concert bands, jazz bands, jazz combos, percussion ensembles and pep band, with about one third of its students involved in the music program.

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