Lutheran South High to build expansive performing arts center thanks to donation


By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

After a large donation from the Darren C. Jubel Charitable Foundation, Lutheran High School South in Affton now has the means to construct a large new performing arts center on campus.

The donation totalled $6 million, with $2.5 million for immediate use and $3.5 million to be unlocked after additional donors pledge $4.5 million. Principal Jonathan Butterfield said the second part of the donation is close to being unlocked.

“Darren always thought of Lutheran South with fondness and truly enjoyed his time as a student there,” Melissa Markwort, Jubel’s niece and executive director of the foundation said. “The school meant so much to him, and we believe this challenge gift will enhance the phenomenal performing arts programs and curriculum the school has to offer.”  

The expansion is approximately 39,000 square feet and will have areas for several classes and programs. Butterfield said it could be ready for use by fall 2023. The biggest piece is a 622-seat performing arts theater with a functional stage — the area will also serve as the chapel for school wide worship.

“When we first sat with the architect we said our highest priority was to have a space to hold a chapel,” Butterfield said. “To us, as a Lutheran Christian school, the worship space is critical … it’s who we are.”

In addition, the band and choir will have new music practice rooms and will use the theater for shows. Outside of performing programs, the new building will have a studio for the school’s digital journalism program, where students host a weekly live news show. 

“What we really value at school is kids getting involved in activities outside of the school day,” Butterfield said. “The more kids are involved in co-curricular activities at school, the better overall high school experience they’re going to have.”

Currently all of these programs use more general classrooms or gymnasiums throughout the school and don’t have a specific area to call their own. The school currently uses the main gym for its chapel.

Butterfield said the school has had many attempts at building something like this over the years, but has never had the funding or opportunity to pull it off. 

“This gift certainly opened up the fact that this can become a reality because its such a transformational gift,” Butterfield said. “I don’t think it could’ve been a reality in the past without such a major gift.”