Construction of New Building Begins: A Look Inside


Ava O’Connor

   On campus, it is all anyone can talk about, and it’s not even built yet. One of the largest focal points at CDS is the Center for Innovation. This is the 40,600 square foot, two-story hub for science and engineering courses expected to open within one year. As this massive expansion has been advertised, it helps grow these departments exponentially and gives students new opportunities to flourish into the future’s innovators. 

   As of Jan. 18, phase 1 of the Dream. Believe. Achieve. campaign is underway, building up excitement for Sept. of 2021, when students should be able to take the first few steps into CDS’ future. But for the current moment, we have a barren gap protected by fencing between the upper and lower school campuses and a slew of questions about the months between now and September. 

   Michelle Robinson, the Director of Institutional Advancement, has been working closely with the Board of Trustees and the administration to make this long term goal a reality. “I would say it’s part of the strategic plan of the school. It really has been in the works for quite a while,” said Robinson, and since 2018, this idea has been designed and budgeted. However, as campaign chair Dan Bergin said, “this project was master-planned starting in 2012.” As the planning of this project has come together, Robinson said the team on the campaign created a goal that “is to really give a house to these amazing programs that are already here in existence.”

   The project is full speed ahead, and even with a seemingly ambitious opening date, Robinson is “confident that we can do it.” Until then, clearing, building, and furnishing must be done, and as of February, the site for the building is being cleared. The next step will be “to move the facilities building, the existing portable building, back in order to make way for the new Center for Innovation,” Robinson said. In the spring, ideally April, after an “official groundbreaking ceremony” that “families who have been very supportive through this initiative” will be invited to, phase 2 will be in full swing, which includes the building of the actual structure. 

   “The most intense part,” Bergin said, “is going to be the interior renovation of the current upper and middle school… So we have to get all of that completed from the day students get out of class in May until they come back in August.” In addition to the entirely new building, the existing classrooms will be renovated. “We have a very small amount of time to completely renovate that entire space and connect it to the new building,” Bergin said. These renovations are expected to make each classroom a more “versatile space,” Robinson said. The objective of the renovation is “creating more spaces per department within each division for their classrooms, and expanding that classroom space where needed,” Robinson said. “The renovations create more student collaboration areas. So instead of having you guys sit on the floor and in the hallways, you have a designated space with designated furniture to do that collaborative work together.” 

   But, as of now, CDS still has one million dollars left to raise for phase 2 to begin. “We need to raise 1 million more dollars to hit our goal, so we’re really close,” Robinson said. The main financial effort is “talking to all our families right now, including alumni families, and just really telling the story.” With over 150 donor families, the campaign is on the brink of having a fully-funded initiative for the construction, which is around 12 million dollars, according to Head of School, Sara Rubienstein.

   After the final touches are put on the building, students and faculty expect to be left with state-of-the-art facilities that will stand out amidst the many other private schools around. Robinson said “it puts us on the map, unique to what other schools can’t offer and don’t offer.” But this project won’t just allow students in upper school to benefit from the new expansion. Lower school, middle school, and upper school will benefit from this long-awaited addition to the campus. Robinson said, “the great thing is really everyone on this campus 1-12 has access to the building and would be involved in the day to day.”