In last week’s newsletter column we shared some exciting developments related to the School’s campus that will provide the physical space for students to pursue exciting hands-on learning activities to gain new skills and advance their existing knowledge aligned with our Portrait of a Graduate. The Board of Trustees has approved a capital campaign to raise funds to build an Innovation Center in a 6,000 square foot space on the second floor of the building, above the library and administrative wing. Excitement is building as we are working with a design-build firm that is developing the plans for permitting with the City of Evanston. The goal is to begin construction at the end of the current school year, in June, so long as enough funds are raised.
What Is Planned for the Development of the Innovation Center?
The Innovation Center is envisioned as a space for students of all ages to authentically engage in a classroom topic through an authentic, hands-on approach. Students, teachers and mentors can collaboratively learn, problem solve, design and create. The space will be designed with maximum flexibility in mind, to include rooms separated by flexible walls such as clear garage doors or sliding walls that can allow the space to support large group functions or smaller group work. Flooring, lighting, and color palettes will create an inviting modern industrial feel that inspires, with flexible furnishings to support a variety of activities whether students are individually working on EAGLE projects (Empowering All Griffins to Learn Experientially) or whole classes are leveraging the space to learn and create together. Older students can meet with their Lower School Griffin Buddies to extend the mentoring experience through joint projects and activities, such as writing, designing and creating a puppet show, 3D diorama, or prototype of an invention. Whether used as an integral part of a class, an extension of a class, or as a space where students can tinker during their free time, the Innovation Center is envisioned as a facility that will support student learning and growth throughout the day and year.
The vision for the 6,000 square feet is a space is to include areas for:
- Digital media studio: to leverage the design and innovation opportunities made possible through Adobe Creative Cloud software, such as creating VR and AR projects; producing and editing videos, music, and podcasts; publishing the literary magazine and yearbook; and developing games and apps.
- 2D and 3D printers with accompanying software: to create original work
- Mechatronics lab: for students to engage in mechanical, electrical, computer, and robotics engineering opportunities such as drone design and build, circuitry, wearable technology research, and other high-tech projects
- FabLab: with metalwork, woodwork, and other fabrication opportunities including equipment such as laser cutters, CNC machines, table saws, soldering irons, CAD software etc.
- ESports Team headquarters
- A low-tech maker space: with equipment for sewing, fashion design, costume creation, and general prototyping activities.
- Large format art room: for building and painting theatre sets, props, or other community art projects
- Comfortable student gathering spaces: with flexible furniture for collaboration.
- Student Lounge: for refreshment breaks and casual conversation opportunities.
The Innovation Center will provide a transformative space for transformative experiential learning for our students. The GriffINNovation campaigns include a $3 million goal for the Innovation Center and an endowment to support faculty professional development, as well as a $600,000 goal for the annual fund that provides critical support to the school’s ongoing commitment to economic diversity among our student body as well as other important annual needs. A steering committee of volunteers representing all constituencies of the school have formed to help ensure the campaigns are successful.
To those ready for the future, we invite you to join these inspired individuals to secure Roycemore’s leadership in education and to build on its life-affirming and life-changing work with young people. To learn more visit https://roycemoreschool.org/giving/
In partnership for the education of your students,
Adrianne Finley Odell
Head of School