New Master Plan for Sayre

Downtown School Will Erect New 3-Story Lower School Building and A Front Quad That Faces Limestone
by John Lynch

Sayre-Stephen-ManellaAs Sayre School – the oldest private school in the Bluegrass – celebrates its 160th anniversary, the downtown school is focused on the future.

Sayre has announced an ambitious new master plan for the three-acre site on North Limestone that will include a new Lower School building, a second gymnasium, a performance arts facility and the conversion of blacktop into green space to enhance the pedestrian elements of the campus.

The school hopes to begin construction in 12 to 18 months as it launches its first building campaign in 15 years.

The plan calls for the demolition of the Extended Day structure and in its place the construction of a three-story building with a two-story entrance to house the Lower School, Extended Day Program and the Lower School Library.

The architecture will reflect the same modern look of the school’s two most recent additions – the Upper School and Buttery.

“We hope to select an architecture firm soon and our aim will be a tasteful design that will keep pace with the wonderful renaissance taking place downtown,” Head of School Stephen Manella said.

“The Lower School will feature flexible learning spaces with a variety of special rooms.

“People still praise the design of the Upper School and the Buttery, and it’s time for the next phase of construction to add to our learning environment.”

When completed, the campus will present a new face to Limestone with green space replacing the driveway that currently splits the school’s frontage.

Along with major changes to the campus comes further use of the 50-acre athletic field site 15 minutes from downtown on Athens-Boonesboro Road in southeast Lexington.

The site features four soccer and lacrosse fields, baseball and softball diamonds, 10 tennis courts and a cross-country course.

The school plans to use the site for agriculture, honoring the legacy of the region while providing a range of science and entrepreneurial programming for the students.

The school also is considering other uses for its “second campus.”

These future plans stem from a vibrant present at Sayre, which has seen enrollment at the pre-K through 12th grade school spike to 535, including a record 247 students in the Upper School.

The school is introducing a Global Studies program, featuring a research project and study abroad components. On the drawing board are Environmental Studies, and Computer Science and Design programs.

In his third year at the school, Manella characterizes his experience as Head of School and as a Sayre parent as invigorating and gratifying. He and his wife and three daughters live downtown within walking distance of the school.

“I was attracted to the school as an educator and as a parent,” he said.

“We knew that downtown was a place where our family would thrive. Sayre reflects the innovation and vibrancy of Downtown. It is incredibly exciting to be a part of that energy.”