A Special Message from John Baird, former Head of School

 

I am writing from my new favorite spot on campus, the second floor of the Science Center. We moved into the newly completed space over the break and have opened for classes! Opening day for this building was one of the most exciting and fun days I’ve had since coming to Westtown.

The building is spectacular – a simple, elegant, state-of-the-art facility for innovative, hands-on teaching and experimentation. It represents the latest chapter in Westtown’s long tradition of excellence in the sciences, and reflects our faculty’s research and most imaginative thinking about the best learning environments for our students – today, and in the future. Its design and operation are an expression of our care for the natural world and commitment to environmental leadership. It is heated and cooled by geothermal wells; it has a “butterfly roof” and cistern to collect and recycle rain water, and maximizes natural light through windows, which afford stunning vistas of the Main Building and the South Woods. All of the wood in the building is sustainably harvested, the linoleum comes from vegetable matter, and a dashboard soon to be installed will enable us to track the building’s energy use. It will truly be a building that teaches. The students love it, and the faculty are, as our Sustainability Coordinator said to me, “over the moon!”

We celebrated the opening with appropriate fanfare- Middle Schoolers paraded from Meeting for Worship for tours and snack, followed by the Upper School students, with the jazz band playing. Now, as I write this, the Upper School Robotics Team is meeting in the Design and Engineering Lab downstairs, and the Middle School Lego Robotics Team is next door, preparing for a competition. The Art and Performing Arts Departments, writing classes, and the Lower School are already exploring ways to use the building as well. I am thrilled about what this building means for all of our students and for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education at Westtown, starting now, and for many years to come. I am convinced that our world needs more vigorous, analytical, creative, caring, ethical and mission-driven scientists and citizens shaped by the values and respectful sense of community at Westtown more than ever.  

Thank you to our Board of Trustees, the Science Faculty and Design Team who have worked closely with our architects, our Facilities Staff, Advancement Team and volunteers, and all of our donors who have believed in this project and in our students and have generously contributed $11 million to this point. You have made our dream come true!

I hope you will come and see the building soon – in the meantime, enjoy this video of the opening festivities for students.

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