VergesRome Architects | New Orleans Architectural Firm


The Additions and Renovations to St. Charles Catholic High School in LaPlace involved a major exterior face lift to the main school building, a pre-engineered metal structure constructed in 1977. The exterior renovations replaced the old blue metal siding with brick, stucco and aluminum storefront windows.

The Entry Addition brought prominence to the nondescript school entrance. The 1,400 SF Entry Addition includes a brick and cast stone entry portal, a vestibule, a conference room immediately off the vestibule, and added a new computer lab. The polished terrazzo floors of the vestibule extend into the main lobby and to the school administrative offices. The conference room, which seats 20 people, was designed to accommodate faculty and school board meetings and replaces the school’s only conference room which had been converted to faculty offices.

The Commons Expansion added 1,850 SF of café style seating to the Cafeteria and includes a tower dedicated to the memory of Lt. Col. Robert J. Hymel, an alumni of St. Charles Borromeo High School and a decorated Vietnam War veteran killed in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. A new presentation wall displays the school’s state trophies and is the backdrop for the Quarterback Club and other meetings.

The 126-seat 2,500 SF stand-alone Chapel is designed for celebration of the Mass by an entire grade level and for the football team’s pre-game Mass. The new chapel’s site was positioned in the heart of the campus.

The gymnasium was also renovated, receiving a new court surface, new goals and bleachers, a new audio/visual system, and a new white perforated acoustical metal ceiling and LED lighting.

The new 49,700 square foot building for the College of Education and Human Development is part of Southern University at New Orleans’ post-Hurricane Katrina development of the SUNO Lake Campus. Now under construction, it will join the existing Faculty and Student Housing (designed by the Joint Venture team of VergesRome Architects and Bani Carville & Brown Architects), the School of Business, the Business Incubator, the IT Building, and the new School of Social Work Building on the University’s Lake Campus.

The College of Education Building will provide a permanent home to the Education curriculum which was displaced to modular classroom buildings since late 2005. The new building will allow expansion of the curriculum and enhancement of the Education program through the addition of a Head Start Program and an Early Childhood Development Center. As the last of the buildings planned for the Lake Campus, the exterior materials and color palette for the College of Education Building are selected to blend with and complement the exteriors of the surrounding campus structures. As the public face of the Lake Campus, the building’s front façade will address Leon C. Simon Boulevard and its position will define the southeastern corner of the campus quadrangle.

The building will provide classroom and laboratory space for approximately 600 adult students, a learning environment for 81 children from ages 18 months to 5 years old, and offices for a faculty of nearly 40. In addition to typical classrooms for 15 to 30 students, the classroom spaces will include an 80-seat auditorium, three interconnected classrooms, one nutrition classroom with a residential demonstration kitchen, and three classrooms with observation rooms with one-way glass. A TV Studio is provided to record and broadcast lectures for distance and online learning.

For the safety and security of the children attending the Head Start and Early Childhood Development Centers, a separate entrance and parking area are provided. Each of the children’s centers will have three age-specific classrooms, a spacious indoor play area, a separate fenced outdoor play yard, and a central warming kitchen will serve meals from the University’s commissary for the children in these Centers.

VergesRome Architects, in joint venture with Bani Carville & Brown Architects of Baton Rouge, designed the new faculty and student housing complex at Southern University New Orleans, an important milestone in the university’s recovery and rebuilding process following Hurricane Katrina.

This state-of-the-art student housing facility was the first such facility in the history of the suburban New Orleans public university, and with a final construction cost of over $39 million, it was also the largest construction project in the 50-year history of SUNO. The project encompasses a total of 21 buildings:  19 three-story apartment buildings, a recreation/ activity building and a service building. The 700-bed housing complex is situated on the school’s 17-acre campus near the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain, and was designed to provide students with views of the lake and the New Orleans skyline.

The John McDonogh School building is located at 2426 Esplanade Ave.  The main three-story, 92,000 SF school opened in the early 1900’s.  The solid masonry structure with decorative plaster trim began an extensive renovation in February of 2017.  The school is currently being renovated inside and out to serve as an Kindergarten through 8th grade.

Exterior renovations include a complete refurbishment of all exterior wood windows, tuckpointing of all mortar joints, installing new masonry ties to mitigate cracking of solid masonry walls, cleaning of masonry and installing a clear breathable water repellent.  All decorative plaster trim and cornices, including the plaster entrance façade, are being refurbished and painted.  The art glass windows at the front entrance are being refurbished to match the original art glass windows as closely as possible.

The ground floor was completely demolished and redesigned to create 14 Classrooms to accommodate Kindergarten through 3rd grade, as well as an Art Room, Offices and Conference Room.  Also located on the ground floor is a full service kitchen.

Original classroom configurations were kept where possible on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The 2nd floor also contains administrative offices and a 450-seat Auditorium that has been refurbished to restore the original coffered ceilings.  The 3rd floor provides Classrooms, Media Center, Science Lab, Music and Art Rooms. Finishes throughout the Main Building have been replaced.

The existing Gymnasium has been demolished and replaced with a new state-of-the-art 22,000 SF Gymnasium and will accommodate new locker rooms, a Maker Lab and Health Lab.  The project will be LEED-Certified.

New Orleans Science and Mathematics High School, also known as Sci High, offers specialized instruction in science, math, and technology, and provides an open door to any interested New Orleans high school student. The school now serves more than 450 students, expects to serve 600 to 700 students as it continues to grow, and has outgrown its current location in a former elementary school building.

In 2020, Sci High will move into a new facility designed by VergesRome Architects specifically to support their coursework and mission. The facility will be fully ADA accessible and will include specialty labs for biomedical, health, engineering and skilled crafts courses to support school’s emphasis on rigorous STEM courses. The new facility is located one block from the Lafitte Greenway and two blocks from the new biomedical corridor.

Due to the small site size, the school is designed with an elevated gymnasium to allow space below for parking and playground space.

VergesRome Architects designed South Plaquemines High School for the Plaquemines Parish School System, on the site of the former Buras Middle School in destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. Designed to accommodate 650 students in over 125,000 SF of area, the school provides for the school district’s projected population growth. Flood and storm surge risks are mitigated through the design at 18’ above grade, in compliance with FEMA mandates. With a cost of $37.3 Million, the school opened for students in Fall 2013. VRA also designed a new vehicular access bridge to the school in a separate, CDBG-funded improvement project.

Five science laboratories and a library/media center are outfitted with modern cutting-edge equipment and technology capabilities.  A 700-seat Gymnasium with 200-seat Auxiliary Gym, training and equipment rooms, locker/shower/toilet rooms, and offices are provided for Physical Education.

Arts education is supported through Band/Chorus, Drama/Speech classrooms; Music Library; offices; and music performance practice rooms. The Visual Arts room is augmented by a Kiln Room. A 700-seat Auditorium with stage, dressing rooms, prop construction room, and costume room was completed in early 2015.

In addition to the core academic areas, South Plaquemines High School also contains a Special Education Department serving Middle and High School Special Education students, with a daily living kitchen; resource and conference rooms; a Speech and Therapy classroom; and seclusion space. A Career and Technology Education Center is incorporated within the school. The school has 5,000 SF of administrative and guidance offices, and 8,000 SF in foodservice, dining and common areas.


VergesRome Architects was retained by Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College to assist with their Strategic Plan, looking ahead to the next 100 years for the monastery and seminary. VRA focused on campus facilities, both existing and previously planned, and site planning. Delineating and protecting the private cloistered areas of the Monastery and Seminary College was very important, as the campus also contains public areas such as the Abbey Church, Christian Life Center, Benet Hall Auditorium, and Rouquette Library.

Seminary buildings on the wooded campus are notable examples of the mid-century Regional Modernism style exemplified by the architect, New Orleans’ Lawrence and Saunders. The mission was to preserve the seminary buildings’ unique architectural character, make them more energy efficient and suited for contemporary use, and attract more seminary candidates through the availability of modern facilities with desired amenities.

New HVAC systems in all seminary buildings were a high priority. A new Central Plant Building housing the Chiller System was constructed as part of the $4.1 million Vianney Hall renovation to service five seminary buildings totaling 103,000 SF.

Vianney Hall, a 1960 dormitory used for 40 years as a storage building, underwent full renovation, returning to its originally intended use, completed February 2014. One of three adjacent mirror-image buildings that form three sides of a revitalized Quadrangle green space, Vianney Hall’s renovation is Phase One of the Campus Strategic Plan program that creates an academic nucleus on campus with a serene outdoor quad and separates cloistered portions of the campus from public and semi-public areas.

The 20,000 SF, two-story dormitory building is now a modern residence hall with 40 one-bedroom units, each with a private bath, two Dorm Deans’ suites, and common areas, including a Lobby on the first floor and Prayer Room on the second floor. Built-in, custom dorm room furnishings were designed by VRA.

2018 AIA Louisiana Award of Merit

Saint Joseph Seminary College’s enrollment has significantly increased in recent years, creating a demand for updated housing and academic upgrades. To accommodate this growth, Rouquette Library needed a new home to make possible the return of Savio Hall, where Rouquette Library once resided, to its original function as a student residence.

The site for the new library was carefully selected in a location that does not disrupt the current mid-century modern master plan of the campus, and also places it in a location that visitors can access without compromising the private sectors of the campus. The site selected was the former swimming pool site.

The building was designed with three stories, with the ground floor used as exterior covered space for activities andwith easy access to other activites on the campus. The elevated structure not only reflects the elevated design of nearby Pius X Hall, but also offers protection for the seminary’s book collection in the event of flooding. The second floor houses the main collection with faculty resources for research, writing, and reading. The third floor provides collaborative student space along with two conference rooms for small lectures and meetings. The third floor will also house the library’s collection of bound serials and offer extended hours, until 10:00 p.m., each evening.

In addition, as the seminarians love the views of their campus, the new library design provides a nearly 360-degree panorama of the entire campus.

VergesRome Architects had the wonderful opportunity to assist  Christian Brothers School with their new grade-school facility at Saint Anthony of Padua School on Canal Street. VRA worked with Ryan Gootee General Contractors and the key faculty of Christian Brothers’ City Park Campus to prioritize areas of the existing school that needed upgrades.  Renovations included new lighting, new window coverings, IT upgrades, playground equipment, auditorium renovation and parking / playground revamping.  The renovations unify the architectural and interiors connection between the City Park Campus and the new St. Anthony Padua Campus.