St. Thomas is proud to unveil the Jane and Bill Joplin ‘54 Campus expansion, the latest priority project to support the school’s immediate strategic plan and promote the success of Eagle student-athletes in competition, in the classroom, and in the community.
The Joplin Campus, named to recognize the extraordinary philanthropy of the Joplins during the 4500Forever and 4500Forever Finish Strong capital campaigns, contains four vital components, all different in their use, but all four providing Eagle student-athletes with a superior mental and physical training and preparation complex.
““Our commitment, as one of the preeminent college preparatory institutions in Texas and the region, has never been stronger,” says President Fr. James Murphy, CSB. “The Joplin Campus is another chapter in advancing Eagle Athletics and more broadly the St. Thomas footprint. Our athletic program has allowed us to open the doors of this institution to our city and beyond our state in unique ways. We’re blessed to upgrade the day-to-day accommodations and resources for our student-athletes. We truly thank the donors and contributors who stepped forward to make this happen and propel St. Thomas to take this very important next step.”
Vice President for Advancement Mark deTranaltes ‘83 is planning a special ribbon cutting ceremony in the fall to celebrate the official Joplin Campus opening.
“We are profoundly grateful to the many members of the St. Thomas family for their remarkable generosity,” deTranaltes says. “St. Thomas is an esteemed academic institution with a prestigious athletic brand, and we understand the responsibility to uphold those high standards for excellence. Giving across all areas of the school is vital to the success of our pursuits. Whatever we achieve, we will always strive to achieve more.”
Director of Operations Troy Froboese and Chief Engineer Duane Fuchser coordinated an all-encompassing effort and delivered a more cohesive and appealing athletic core, partnering with Vaughn Construction, Architectural Floors, Bauer Sport Floors, BSN Sports, and FTO Installations.
The extensive renovation includes more than 20,000-square feet devoted to enhanced practice amenities and locker rooms for Eagle Basketball and Eagle Wrestling, plus a complex for strength and conditioning, and sports medicine to be utilized by all Eagle student-athletes.
The first floor of the Joplin Campus features 14,000-square feet of gleaming facilities that promise glistening futures for Eagle Basketball and Eagle Wrestling, an atmosphere befitting their notable accomplishments. The area will also service student physical education and health activities, intramurals, and campus events.
The transformation directly supports the championship standards of two select sports and validates their reputations among the premier private programs in Texas. Eagle Basketball has advanced to consecutive TAPPS 6A regional finals following back-to-back state semifinals in 2016 and ‘17. Eagle Wrestling earned third place at the 2020 TAPPS state championships after finishing as the 2019 state runner-up in both TAPPS and Texas Prep State, the program’s best results since the 2011-13 state title three-peat.
“The Joplin Campus closely represents the great tradition of excellence of Eagle Athletics and the high caliber of St. Thomas as a whole,” says Athletic Director Mike Netzel. “Our basketball and wrestling efforts are gaining measurable momentum. We are determined to capitalize on that.”
In April, Karnell James was promoted as the next leader of Eagle Basketball after serving as an assistant the previous two years. His debut season coincides with the opening of the Joplin Campus, the perfect complement to Reckling Gymnasium which will continue hosting high-quality, game-day experiences for St. Thomas students and supporters, as well as a salute to the school’s history and its Athletic Hall of Fame.
“Reckling is one of the most heavily used facilities for our athletic department and campus community, and at times is honestly overtaxed,” Netzel says. “The Joplin Campus will give us options for practices, coaching, and individual training without scheduling conflicts throughout the academic year and during off-seasons. That dynamic elevates the already positive experiences of all of our student-athletes.”
In December 2015, the Basilian Fathers and the St. Thomas Board of Directors honored Jane and Bill Joplin by dedicating the expanded St. Thomas footprint in their name following their legacy leadership gift. Their lead donation along with additional pledges reflected a depth of engagement by alumni, parents, students, and friends who contributed at all financial levels to ensure the future of the institution and its Basilian mission.
Eagle Fight Never Dies!