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Groundbreaking and Innovation Center Project Update

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

We look forward to having you join us this Thursday for our Groundbreaking Ceremony for the stairwell to our future Innovation Center. See info below for details on what will be a fun, family celebration as we move forward on this exciting project. Thursday’s groundbreaking is the culmination of many months of work from dozens of individuals, whether they be board members, faculty, or supporters. This project would not be possible without the generous support of our community. You may view a draft donor list here. We have surpassed the halfway mark with over $1.5 million in cash and pledges on our $3 million GriffINNovation Campaign. Of this amount, nearly $1 million has already been received. Pledges may be paid out over as many as five years, which allows families to make the multi-year commitments that are needed to make this project a reality. The more gifts (versus pledges) we have in hand, however, the faster we will see the Innovation Center completed and directly benefiting students.

At Roycemore School’s May 16th Board meeting, the Board approved engaging with W.B. Olson, a local contractor who will build the stairwell to the Innovation Center for us this summer. For a number of months, we have been working with the architectural firm, Weese Langley Weese (WLW), on the design for the stairwell. WLW has submitted plans to the City of Evanston for permit approval which are in the process of being reviewed.

Concurrent to the work on the stairwell, a group of faculty, students, parents, and partners, dubbed the Vision-Design Team (VDT), has been meeting on a weekly basis to develop the plans for the Innovation Center itself. This group reviewed surveys from parents, faculty, and students to gain an understanding of the priorities for what should be included in the Innovation Center. Priorities include a digital media studio, robotics lab, student lounge space, 3D printing area, classroom space, and fabrication labs that may include sewing machines, woodworking equipment, laser cutters, and other tools. Members of the VDT visited a number of makerspaces and innovation centers around the Chicagoland area and helped design the request for proposals for architectural services for a firm to partner with us. The team interviewed several firms which ultimately resulted in the Board of Trustees hiring the local firm, Cordogan Clark.

The VDT is now meeting weekly with Cordogan Clark to facilitate the planning for the space. Cordogan Clark also recently met with students to gather their further input. They visited campus to create a virtual walk-through of the space to help facilitate the layout of furniture and equipment. All of this activity has resulted in great progress in our thinking about how the space might be designed. A unique feature of the Innovation Center is that it will put our Portrait of a Graduate (POG) in action. The space will bring together our Director of Curriculum and Innovation, the Innovation Coach/STEAM teacher, the Gifted Coordinator, and potentially the social worker and learning specialists, to support students holistically in the three realms of scholarship, citizenship, and emotional intelligence through hands-on experiential learning. Stay tuned for renderings with further detail soon!

You can impact students for years to come by making a gift now or making a pledge.

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