Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School: Fine Arts Wing

Joplin, Mississippi / United States of America

In an effort to improve the visual and performing arts portion of its rigorous college prep curriculum, Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School commissioned the design of a significant addition/renovation to its modest existing facility. The new building includes offices, art and music instructional spaces, an Upper School library, classrooms, dining, and a 425-seat performance theater. Program elements are organized around a secure, central courtyard – a dynamic and inviting outdoor space and a quaint natural backdrop for study, relaxation, and socialization.

The new theater provides an intimate and sophisticated setting with several seating zones and a stage equipped with a full fly-loft and orchestra pit. A two-story gallery bathed in natural light serves as both a theater pre-function space and an exhibition area for student art. A palette of locally-relevant materials anchors the building to its place and humanizes its modern aesthetic, infusing it with warmth, texture, and scale. In a nod to Joplin's rich history as a zinc mining town during World War II, the upper façade features standing-seam zinc alloy rain-screen panels. Large, glazed areas slice through the building, creating separation between a solid base of regionally-sourced sandstone and brick and the metal-clad roof and wall surfaces above. 

Architect of Record

Perkins + Will

Associate Architect

Crafton Tull Sparks


Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School

General Contractor

Crossland Construction Company


  • Crafton Tull Sparks
  • Blasdel Associates, Inc.
  • Shen Milsom & Wilke