Jesuit High School’s Chapel of the Holy Cross
Owner: Jesuit High School
Contractor: Batson-Cook Construction
Lead Design Firm: Duncan G. Stroik LLC
Structural Engineer: Miller Structural Engineering
MEP Engineer: Hahn Engineering
Standing 125 ft high, the 13,094-sq-ft, 950-seat chapel is the new heart of one of Tampa’s most prestigious private schools. The exterior is clad in brick, limestone, bluestone and metal, with 24-foot-tall columns and a 6-ft-tall Doric entablature. The chapel’s octagonal-shaped interior features marble statues, flooring and altars, all of which were procured from Italy.
Constructing such an intricate, high-profile building on a newly formed quadrangle at the center of an active high school campus presented a host of logistical and safety challenges, including limited storage space for materials. Deliveries had to be carefully sized, timed and offloaded to make the most of what room was available while also ensuring an adequate supply for maintaining scheduled work activity.
The team also had to safeguard students and faculty. The site was locked down as needed, with gates opened only for the passage of delivery vehicles and equipment.
Inside, lifts reaching up to 80 ft enabled subcontractors to access the chapel’s upper reaches without impeding concurrent work on walls and floors. Lean construction practices and advanced project management software likewise proved valuable in maximizing the team’s productivity and quality, allowing the $9-million project to be completed in under 26 months.
The project’s collaborative spirit also fostered several value-engineering innovations. An illuminated lantern atop the chapel was originally designed to be built in place using steel and conventional cladding. As the building’s height posed a major access challenge, the lantern was redesigned as a fiberglass unit that was fully assembled on the ground, then hoisted into place using a crane.
And while project teams are always on the lookout for cost savings, the team’s suggestion to redesign four interior side shrines from millwork to marble at minimal additional cost brought immeasurable value to the owner. The resulting shrines, dedicated to Jesuit martyrs, serve as fitting anchors to the chapel’s four commissioned paintings by noted artist Raúl Berzosa.