The proposed representation of the new middle-school building was done by architects at Studio Bondy Architecture, the same company that remodeled the lower-school building. (Photo courtesy of Stephen Repsher)

New middle-school building to feature state-of-the-art science labs

Five years after the construction of the lower-school building, the administration is  finalizing plans for similar upgrades to the middle school.

“We anticipate a need for additional classrooms,” headmaster Stephen Repsher said. “The middle school is at capacity at this point, and we have classrooms that were built in the mid-1970’s that are beyond their service life.”

This summer, Repsher hopes to begin construction on a new building to replace the freestanding rooms 6A and 6B (teachers Aleitha Burns’s and Edward Bolman’s classrooms).

“It’s been in the plans (to replace the building) for more than 10 years,” Repsher said. “In the past two years, we’ve become more interested because we’ve completed a number of smaller projects and it’s time to address something more significant.”

The replacement will be a roughly 3500-square-foot, one-story building about twice the size of the current structure. Instead of being linear, the new building will bend along the car pick-up line toward the lower-school building.

The building’s bent shape will allow it to increase in size while not interfering with the middle-school quad or Edwards Plaza.

The cost of the new building is estimated at $1.5 million, which will come from fundraising efforts through current and past parents, foundations and corporations, Repsher said.

“We feel the school needs to conserve whatever resources it has,” he said. “(New buildings) should come from additional support rather than what small funds we have available.”

If a significant portion of the money is raised by January, construction will begin next summer and finish around February 2015—otherwise, the project will be pushed back one year, Repsher said.

The designs for the new building have not yet been finalized, but Repsher said the school has a general idea for it.

Middle schoolers frolic in the leaves by the middle-school quad. The administration hopes to replace two middle-school buildings with a more modern science center this summer. (Photo by Cissy Shi)

While the current building contains only two classrooms, the new one will host four: two science laboratories, two math classrooms and two bathrooms (though these plans are not final).

The new building will be aptly named the Middle School Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology.

“It was not originally planned to be a math/science building—it was originally just a number of classrooms,” Repsher said.

“But we realized we need to have modern, state-of-the-art science laboratories for our middle schoolers just like we have for our high-school students.”

And including the math classrooms, this new building will actually be bigger than the high-school science building.

Repsher said the single building will allow the science classrooms to collaborate and share storage space more easily.

And room 16, one of the current science classrooms, will be modified to be used for other classes.

After the middle-school science building is completed, Repsher said the school aims to replace the L-shaped building that contains the middle-school office, faculty workroom, art room and maintenance with a larger two-story structure.

Repsher gave no time estimate on this building, but said it will cost several million dollars and won’t be constructed for several years.

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