Taub Campus Acquisition

On December 31st, 2012, St. John’s School entered into a historic land transaction with the Henry J. N. Taub family for slightly more than 13 acres of land, increasing our current campus footprint by 33%. This particular tract, located directly west of the South Campus on Buffalo Speedway, not only provides strategic value due to its proximity but will enable the School to achieve its long-term goals. It was originally purchased by Ben Taub in the 1940s and has been owned by the family ever since.
 
The ability to purchase a significant tract of land in the heart of the 4th largest city in the country is a testament to the strength and generosity of our community, the munificence of the Henry J. N. Taub family, and the foresight of St. John’s leadership. As it turns out, fate also played a role. The Taub family was in the process of developing this particular piece of property for commercial use, with the first phase of development scheduled to begin in the first half of 2013. Following a discussion at a Board retreat in the fall regarding the long-range needs of the School, Headmaster Mark Desjardins, Board Chairman Ann Stern ’75, and Vice-Chairman John Moody ’67 were prompted to formally approach St. John’s alumni, Kitch, H. Ben, and Marcy Taub Wessel, to inquire about whether the family would be interested in selling and gifting the property to the School. Approximately two months later, St. John’s executed a land closing in record time and received unprecedented philanthropic and community support.
 
The Taub family’s involvement and support of St. John’s goes back to the earliest days of the School. Beginning with Ben Taub, who made the land on the South Campus (Brown Campus) available to the School in 1948, and then followed by Henry J. N. Taub, who generously funded the Carol and Henry J. N. Taub Library, this generation of the Taub Family— Kitch, H. Ben, and Marcy— views this gift and sale of land as a continuation of their parents’ and great-uncle’s commitment to supporting the School. The Taub family has been instrumental in the growth and development of many of Houston’s great institutions, including the University of Houston, Baylor College of Medicine, Methodist Hospital, and the Ben Taub Hospital. We are grateful for their generous support and for the support of the many families who have helped to ensure St. John’s remains one of the finest educational institutions in Houston, including the Brown, Cullen, and Duncan families. We draw strength from their generosity and commitment as we forge the future for the next generation of St. John’s students.
 
The founders of St. John’s envisioned that the School would play a vital role in the future of our city. As Houston transformed into a world-class city, St. John’s evolved into one of the top day schools in the country. The Taub Property allows the School to continue to meet the needs of this growing city and strengthens our commitment to our founders and to the city of Houston. In addition to securing the future of the School for the next century and beyond, the Taub Property will provide unlimited opportunities to strengthen our commitment to developing well-rounded young men and women who will lead and serve.
 
While the land will serve our current needs, we are committed to engage the entire community in a thoughtful and thorough strategic planning process to determine its future use. We have engaged the services of ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge, a nationally recognized architectural, planning, and design firm for schools and universities whose clients include Deerfield Academy, Harvard University, Milton Academy, St. Mark’s School, and Philips Exeter Academy. This process is expected to last between 12 and 18 months. We look forward to sharing more with the community as the process unfolds.
 
We are energized by the possibilities the Taub Property offers our students, faculty, and program and are heartened and inspired by the outpouring of support from the St. John’s community. As we move forward with a multi-phase, multi-year campaign, we look to our community to support the current and future needs of this land. Should you have any additional questions about the land or fundraising efforts, please do not hesitate to contact Headmaster Mark Desjardins.

Taub Campus Aqcuisition Frequently Asked Questions

  • How will decisions be made on the use of the Taub property?

    The Board of Trustees has established committees that will address the facilities, finance, and long-range planning aspects of the new property. Working with a professional master facility planning architect, Architectural Resources Cambridge (ARC), the School is committed to examining the myriad possibilities for the best use of this transformational acquisition. Community involvement in the process is critical to the future of our school. During the coming months, the community will be encouraged to participate in conversations and give input on the long-range plans for the land by means of on-line surveys and in-person meetings. Please check back under the Taub Campus Acquisition tab on the St. John’s website for additional information regarding these upcoming surveys and meetings.
  • Has all of the money for the Taub Campus acquisition been raised through philanthropy?

    No. The initial purchase of the land was funded with a short-term loan. In the fall of 2013, the School secured medium-and long-term financing that replaced the short-term debt. Ultimately, the land purchase will be funded through a combination of philanthropy, borrowing, and revenue.
     
    St. John's is planning to announce the details of a comprehensive campaign in 2015. If you would like more information on how to participate at this time, please contact Mark Dini, Director of Advancement, at mdini@sjs.org. 
  • How does the School intend to use the Taub property?

    While the specifics are unknown at this time, the School is working diligently on a long-term strategic plan. We will be seeking the community’s input and suggestions.
To find out more about Architectural Resources Cambridge, please click the logo below.



To see a larger St. John's Campus property map, please click the photo below.

From Headmaster Mark Desjardins