The Commercial Appeal
New building to add more classrooms, offices for Briarcrest
When students at Briarcrest Christian School’s Houston Levee location return to school in August they will be unable to miss the new 35,000-squarefoot Dr. Willard R. Sparks Chapel and Performing Arts Center even though the building will not open until the end of the semester
“Having a facility like this makes it much easier to attract professionals to come and work with our students,” Frizzell said. Funding for the performing arts building came from proceeds from the sale of the school’s East Memphis facility, which it will lease back in part from purchaser Highpoint Church, the Dr. Willard R. Sparks Foundation, and a capital fundraising campaign. Briarcrest will continue to have an elementary school at the East Memphis location.
“For years the students at Houston Levee have been driving to East Memphis to participate in fine arts productions, now it will be the reverse but no one seems to mind the drive to make it feel like their kids on stage on Broadway,” said Beth Rooks, the school’s communication director.
Rooks said this is especially important because of the number of students that participate in the fine arts program as well as sports activities.
“As a parent of a choir student I’m just thrilled. What’s unusual about Briarcrest we have a lot of students that do fine arts and participate in sports now they’ll be able to do that at the same location,” Rooks said.
Frizzell esti mates around two thirds of middle school students are involved in some part of the fine arts curriculum and over half of the high school students. So this will have a large impact on the student body. In addition to performances, several fine-arts classes will also move to the new facility after the Christmas break.
The new building was designed by Fleming and Associates Architects who were also responsible for the Houston Levee location’s high school, which opened in 2003, and the elementary and middle school that opened in 2009. The buildings are all similar in design, Rooks said, so when everything is complete, from the outside you won’t be able to tell they were built different years.