Building for Community


Photos in the new CMS lobby courtesy of alum Deming Haines ’17.

I thought it would be so simple

We’d just continue to call it the C.

This is short for the Center for Math and Science, which is the building formerly known as the SEA, which itself is short for Sports Education Annex.

SEA how simple it is.

Somewhere along the way, though, people started calling the new science portion of the building the CMS. That wouldn’t be so bad, but they are still calling the old part of the building, particularly the gym, the SEA. No, strike that, people are calling it the SEA Gym.

Building names are hard to let go of. Just ask the people of Chicago how they feel about the Willis Tower. Even after Sears lost its naming rights in 2009 and entered bankruptcy this year, that building will always and forever be Sears Tower.

Well, no matter what you want to call it, on January 27, we will have the first public unveiling of the new wing in the Center for Math and Science. The PTAA sponsored Taste and Toast is open to all parents. Get your tickets here.

The new building features eight science labs, an ideation hub, three conference rooms, and an open and flexible makerspace. The new wing features four shared prep areas, with the labs paired on each side for easy access and supervision.

Upper School students began using the updated math classrooms (formerly used by world languages) at the beginning of the school year. Since then, we have also expanded and refreshed the main lobby area. With the new seating and presentation technology, it now has the ability to host a grade-level class meeting or a parent coffee or a guest speaker.

While the science portions of the building will be ready in early February, we expect teachers will begin to move into the new space during the T2 break.

This will bring to a conclusion a significant phase of the school’s 2015 master facility plan, developed shortly after the opening of the athletic Field House (which itself marked the completion of the school’s original building plan). The most notable work since the Field House opening has included:

  • Replacing most of the school’s original classroom furniture with lighter, more flexible furnishings.
  • Creating the Middle School Design Lab and repurposing the former Lecture Hall into a flexible, multipurpose Discovery Studio.
  • Developing a prototype open-learning space in the Upper School that includes an open-format college counseling suite, student collaboration lounge, and a suite of classrooms that can be reconfigured into one, two, or three learning spaces.

The master facilities plan was developed in alignment with the school’s current strategic plan and seek to create more flexible spaces and to make learning more open and visible.

With the opening of the new science wing, we have turned our attention on the next phase of planning, which includes:

  • Expansion and upgrade of the current weight room in the Fitness Center;
  • An update to portions of the main Upper School building to add more student study and collaborative spaces, create a suite for our wellness and learning support services, and to make room for our new Center for Community Engagement; and
  • Design changes in the library to create open, quiet conference spaces for individual and small-group student work, to add a cafe as part of our new entrepreneurship efforts, and to better integrate library and technology support functions.

Please join me for the Taste and Toast on January 27th. The PTAA is planning it as a celebration of school athletics and it will be an opportunity to get the first look inside our new building.

C you there.