St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie has broken ground on a new facility, The Gibbs Family Center for Innovation and Design.

The new 5,000-square-foot building will operate as a design studio, prototype lab, classroom, production studio, woodworking and build shop, and community partnership workspace. It will be equipped with tools and supplies such as 3-D printers, modeling software, and video and audio equipment that will enable the rapid prototyping of ideas, field research and multimedia presentations.

“The center’s name honors Marian and Larry Gibbs, whose family has been involved in the St. Martin’s community for 26 years,” said Rob Norton, director of marketing and communications for St. Martin’s. “Their five children and one grandchild have all attended St. Martin’s, and Marian and Larry have served in a variety of capacities, including the Board of Trustees, the Board of Visitors, the Mothers’ Club, the Dads’ Club and the Booster Club.”

This $1.1 million project was funded entirely through individual and foundation donations. It is slated to open in fall 2016.

The design and construction of the project, which will be located on the Haring Road side of St. Martin’s campus, will be handled by two local firms, Blitch Knevel Architects and F.H. Myer’s Construction.

New Year’s in Westwego

If you don’t have any plans yet to ring in the new year, the Westwego Farmers and Fisheries Market will host a New Year’s Eve party from 8 p.m. to midnight at the market, 484 Sala Ave., Westwego.

Admission is free, and there will be a concert by the J. Diamond Washington Band. A fireworks display is planned for midnight.

Reserve a table for eight for $75, which includes Champagne, setups and party favors.

For more information, call (504) 341-9083.

Walking trail opens

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last month to celebrate the opening of the Bellemeade Walking Trail at the corner of Bellemeade and Lapalco boulevards in Gretna.

The new trail is located on an acre of parish-owned land and will provide the Bellemeade community with additional green space as well as a recreational and exercise facility. Wrought-iron fencing faces the streets, and wood privacy fencing abuts the adjacent properties. Amenities include paved, on-site parking, a landscaped track covering one-sixth of a mile on a meandering path, pedestrian scale lighting, an irrigation system and interior drainage.

Burgdahl and Graves Architects designed the facility with input from the neighborhood association, and with the assistance of Perrin & Carter Inc. and Ellis Engineers. Louisiana Landscape Specialty assisted on the landscape and irrigation design. Rotolo Consultants Inc. of Slidell performed the work at a cost of $378,899, with funding for the project provided by council District 1.

Eva Jacob Barkoff writes about the people and events in Jefferson Parish. She can be reached at