After a thoughtful process by faculty, administration, and trustees about the future of STEAM, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to move forward with an adaptive re-use project for the Blue Gym. The project began February 12 and has a six-month timetable for completion.
This integrated learning center will enable us to support a robust, interdisciplinary program that fosters creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. By bringing math, science, and engineering together and enriching their connections to Central Subject, the humanities, arts, and movement programs, we will open new possibilities for students and faculty. For example:
Enhances all academic programs: Because of its design, size, and scale, the Blue Gym offers us an extremely cost-effective way to provide flexibility for current and future programming. For example:
- We can bring the Math and Science Departments together under one roof.
- An open-space design lends itself well to the tools, collaborative work styles, and exploration at the heart of STEAM initiatives.
- It provides Shady Hill the opportunity to enhance space for other programs, such as the Arts, World Languages, and Learning Resources.
- An adaptive re-use not only reduces construction costs significantly, but it also considerably shortens the time required to complete a project.
Expands School’s science, engineering, and technical capabilities: The plan will allow for six STEAM labs, four STEAM classrooms with extensive storage, an outdoor classroom, green roof possibilities, a “maker’s space” for hands-on projects, and a fabrication lab for creating and designing with new, innovative technologies.
Maintains a vibrant Athletics/PE program: As part of the planning, we are committed to maintaining a vibrant Athletics/PE program by developing a program based around the Gold Gym and upgraded outdoor fields.
Adds community space: We also expect that the new space will allow for some community space for meetings and presentations.
Incurs no debt: All construction funds have been raised in advance, so no debt will be incurred. In addition, we will raise endowment funds for faculty support, programming, future maintenance costs, and equipment replenishment.
The following summary was prepared as a handout for guests attending the ribbon cutting:
How the Hub Came to Be
Shady Hill’s STEAM Center (aka The Hub) was born of the 2013 Strategic Plan. One of the Strategic Plan’s five pillars was to enhance Shady Hill's science and technology programs and to promote interdisciplinary teaching. In 2014, Head of School Mark Stanek established a STEAM Council that spent the school year learning what other schools were doing in these realms as well as promoted interdisciplinary teaching and learning on campus. Over that year, the Board also discussed how to implement the 2013 Strategic Plan’s vision and recommendations.
One outgrowth of these conversations was to convert the Blue Gym to a space with four math classrooms, six labs, a makerspace, and a fabrication lab. In order to incur no debt, all funds were secured before the project was approved at the December 2015 Board Meeting. The project broke ground in February 2016 and, much to everyone’s delight, the facility was ready by the first day of classes in September. Mark Stanek, accompanied by a group of students, opened the building in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 6, 2016. Converting the Blue Gym enabled the project to be economical ($6.25 million), fast (seven months), and green (no demolition and associated debris).
Strategic Area II: Program and Facilities
Our goal is to sustain Shady Hill’s leadership role in creative and innovative methodology among elementary/middle schools. We seek to build on the Central Subject tradition of integrated learning and strengthen and expand our integrated approach to science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and the arts (STEAM) to provide an enriched learning experience for our students.