The College School - Jan Phillips Learning Center

In a Nutshell

The Jan Phillips Learning Center is designed to connect people with nature and advocate a sustainability ethic for our region.  Upon completion, this 6,550 square foot complex will not only promote The College School’s long held values of conservation and sustainability but will serve as a regional headquarters for sustainable conversations, learning and inspiration.

The learning center will be one of eight Living Building Challenge structures in the world, widely considered to represent the highest level of achievement in a green building rating system even above the better-known LEED certification.  A 501c3 non-profit organization, The College School is seeking direct donations to assist with construction costs and support staffing to design and implement visitor and community events.

Project Information


The College School is an independent, Preschool through Eighth Grade educational institution located in the heart of Webster Groves, Missouri.  Founded in 1963, The College School is rooted in the principles of experiential education, theme-based learning, and adventure education.  Nationally recognized as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School, The College School currently serves over 150 families across 42 zip codes in the greater St. Louis area at its Webster Groves and LaBarque campuses.

After dedicating 50 years to serving our own families, The College School is compelled with this new construction opportunity to promote sustainable values, behaviors, and curriculum with the larger community. A Living Building Challenge structure, it will serve as a beacon for sustainability practices and education on an international scale.

The Jan Phillips Learning Center is designed to help connect people with nature and to help tell a sustainability story. We know that learning opportunities are increased with facilities that engage people actively, invite exploration and provide intentional teaching tools with systems that enhance the wellbeing of people and the planet.


The College School is seeking $150,000.00 of support through direct donations to support construction costs and implement community-wide educational programming.

The Jan Phillips Learning Center will be located at The College School’s 28-acre LaBarque campus near Pacific, Missouri.  The property is home to seven diverse ecosystems as well as working gardens, an orchard, frog pond, rain garden, archaeological digs, creek confluence, maple syrup “sugar shack,” and rock climbing..  Located 10 minutes from MO Highway 44, the campus is less than an hour drive from most parts of the metropolitan area.


Total Project Costs:                            $1,600,000.00
The College School has raised:         $1,140,465.00

Of requested $150,000.00 funding, $75,000.00 will be allocated to realizing construction costs, and the remainder will support a 1.0 FTE employee to design and implement visitor curriculum, community day events, and other external programs hosted at the facility. The College School is currently evaluating a low interest loan with a longtime banking partner to finance the gap between monies raised and total costs.


The learning center and education programming is aimed to benefit the region’s youth, families, and educational community.  By engaging the larger community, we hope to achieve the following outcomes at The Jan Phillips Learning Center.

  1. Help students and families understand the impact of their choices on the environment.
  2. Teach students and families how to implement sustainable practices in their daily life.
  3. Share sustainability best practices with fellow educators, administrators and area schools.

By implementing a series of pre-visit, post-visit, and short-term (two to three month) post-visit surveys, The College School will track and analyze which sustainability experiences and lessons resonated most with visiting constituent groups.  Additionally, survey responses will demonstrate how constituencies went on to implement sustainable practices in their life, classroom and school environments.


Ed Maggart
Head of School
314-962-9355 x110
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Jaclyn Stewart-Strothmann
Assoc. Director of Development
314-962-9355 x112
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More InformationMore Information

More Information About the Living Building Challenge can be found here.
In pursuit of the Living Building Challenge, the learning center includes features and techniques such as:

  • Net-Zero Energy
  • Net-Zero Water Use
  • Solar Arrays
  • Building oriented for maximized natural light supplemented by LEDs
  • New well with grey water timed drainage system
  • Natural Ventilation
  • Recycled, low toxicity, salvaged and locally harvested materials
  • Aqueduct
  • Geological strata wall

Built in educational features include:

  • Golden ratio (Fibonacci sequence) throughout building including floor plan and windows
  • Fireplace built to show geologic strata of property
  • Solstice tracking and "continental divide” on plaza
  • Set up of monitors for solar panels, energy use for lights and plugs, and water use for educational purposes
  • Run off water channels used for demonstrations in water wheels, dams, etc.