Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School

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Mary Institute & St. Louis Country Day School or "MICDS" is a secular, co-educational, private school for about 1,200 students in grades K-12. Its 1 square mile campus[1] is located in the St. Louis suburb of Ladue, one of Missouri's wealthiest-per-capita cities[2]. The school has strong academic tradition and sends the vast majority of its graduates to prestigious four-year colleges.


William Greenleaf Eliot, founder and chancellor of Washington University, established MICDS' predecessor institutions in the 1850s as part of the university. A boys' school, Smith Academy, was founded in 1854, and was later attended by the future poet T.S. Eliot. A sister school, Mary Institute, was founded in 1859 and was named for Eliot's deceased daughter. It was the first girls’ school west of the Appalachians.

Smith Academy closed in June 1917; most of its students transferred to a successor school, independent of a university, which opened that September in northwestern St. Louis County. Called St. Louis Country Day School, or CODASCO for short (a nickname still used by the boys' athletic teams, much to the chagrin of school administrations), it was set up along the lines prescribed by the Country Day School movement. CODASCO's campus was in a bucolic environment reached by rail that seemed far from the urban grit of the old Smith Academy.

Mary Institute moved to its Ladue campus in 1931 and became independent of Washington University a few years later. By the 1950s, the tranquility of the Country Day campus was disrupted by the growth of the adjacent Lambert-Saint Louis International Airport. Codasco built a new campus next Mary Institute, sold its old land to the airport and moved to Ladue in 1958.[3] Eliot's grandson, Nobel laureate T. S. Eliot, who attended Mary Institute's kindergarten and Smith Academy, spoke at the school's centennial in 1959.

Although various connections, including theatrical cooperation, had existed between Mary Institute and Codasco for years, academic coordination between Mary Institute and Country Day began during the 1980s and culminated in the 1992 merger of the schools, when a bankrupt Mary Institute was bailed out of its troubles by neighboring St. Louis Country Day School. Codasco headmaster John Johnson, who coordinated the merger, became head of the combined schools, reprising the role of William Greenleaf Eliot almost a century and a half earlier.


MICDS is known for both its rigorous athletics and also its oldest traditions. Students are required to complete two sports credits a year. The school has claimed 23 state championships and 41 district championships in the past decade[4].

MICDS has a standing athletic rivalry with nearby John Burroughs School, dating back to Country Day School tradition, as well a cross-state rivalry with The Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City. Each year before the weekend when all of the teams play Burroughs, there is a traditional bonfire and pep rally to inspire team spirit.


North Campus

  • Alumni Dining Hall: Renovate and expand in 2005; LitePro projector, drop down screen, public address system with CD, DVD and cassette sources; Seating capacity 350; Outdoor patio with gas grill outdoor seating
  • Bryant Arts Center: A newly renovated basement with art classrooms and a computer lab. Home to two Theatres, Vincent Price Theatre, a black box theatre, and Orthwein Theatre, two music classrooms and rehearsal rooms. Messing Gallery, a gallery with professional and student artwork, is also located here.
  • Danforth Hall: Danforth Chapel, Science class rooms and laboratories
  • Mathews Hall: Math classes and Publications room.
  • May Hall: The main buildings, housing the administrations' offices of the Upper School and Foreign Language Classes. Upper May, the only building on the North Campus to have classes on the 2nd floor, also includes Science classes and Lower May (basement) has study areas, the security squadron headquarters, one classroom, and a greenhouse.
  • McDonnell Gymansium: One regulation basketball court, Mary Institute/ Country Day Athletic Hall of Fame, locker rooms, Athletic offices, film and equipment rooms, weight room, and the Beaumont Natatorium which is a 25 yard competition pool with eight racing lanes capable of hosting short course events as well as water polo matches; Seating capacity: 350 with room for additional 150 on deck; Depth: 3.5 feet at shallow and 5-10 feet at starting end of pool; Water Temperature: 79.6-80.2 degrees Fahrenheit; One underwater window for coaching analysis; Volume: approximately 219,000 gal; KDI Paragon starting platforms; Red and green Competitor 4" racing lane lines; Red and green Kiefer nylon backstroke flags; Colorado Timing Systems electronic touchpads, 8-line LED scoreboard and System 6 Sports Timer.
  • Olson Hall: Completed for the 1999-2000 school year, this building is situated in the approximate center of the Campus, connecting the two former campuses. It houses all English and History classes on the second floor, as well as the bookstore and school-wide administrative offices on the first floor including Admissions, Business, and Head of School.

South Campus

  • McDonnell Athletic Center: 3 Basketball Courts, an 1/8 mile indoor track, and a Fitness Center (Built for the 2000-01 school year)
  • Freeman Arts Building: One theatre, drama rooms, and multiple art studios.
  • Schoenberg Hall: Located at between Middle School and Lower School, includes Lower School library. Includes Beasley and fifth and sixth grade classrooms and lockers. Location of the Lower School Library.
  • Mary Eliot Chapel: Chapel for Middle School, full theatre with drama and musical rooms backstage.
  • Danforth Hall (Middle School): Main building of Mary Institute, now used for a majority of the Middle School Classes and Middle School offices.
  • Ronald S. Beasley School: Home for Junior Kindergarten through fourth grades.


For the 2006-2007 school year, tuition and fees range from $14,840 for students up to fourth grade to $17,985 and for high schoolers. About 20 percent of students received financial aid[5].


Contact Information

101 North Warson Road
St. Louis, MO 63124
Phone: (314) 993-5100


<googlemap lat="38.658119" lon="-90.397675" zoom="16" width="700" controls="large">38.658119, -90.396452, Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School</googlemap>

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