Contributed by Linda Stefanelli ’62
“Great schools never stand still,” is a phrase you will hear often from Head of School Paul J. Stellato, and it could not be more appropriate for Princeton Day School, where campus transformations have been happening regularly for years thanks to the THRIVE! Campaign, which raised an unprecedented $58.6 million for facilities and programs.
Over a 10-week span this past summer, seven existing campus spaces were transformed into spectacular learning environments designed for exploration and creation across academic disciplines. The work represents the completion of the final phase of the THRIVE! Campaign and was completed in time for the first day of school on September 9.
The new facilities, which benefit all three divisions, include new Lower School and Middle School STEAM Centers, renovated Lower and Middle School libraries, beautifully reimagined lab studios for Lower School art and science, and a teaching kitchen for PreK-Grade 12. Underscoring the importance of combining hands-on STEAM experiences and interdisciplinary resource hubs, the Lower and Middle School STEAM Centers are prominently located adjacent to the renovated LS and MS libraries at the center of each division.
In the new Lower School art studio, Art Teacher Jen Gallagher feels a renewed sense of energy and creativity. “It makes you want to try new things… I get inspired in the art studio, then I can bring projects down to the [new Lower School] STEAM center and use the equipment to work on them.” Next door, the new science lab is transfused with light, the latest technology and mobile lab tables, making it an eagerly anticipated location for science teacher Aaron Schomburg’s Lower School scientists to hypothesize, experiment and evaluate their results.
The new Lower and Middle School STEAM centers are located behind walls of glass directly off of their renovated libraries, which brings STEAM innovation opportunities to the forefront for PreK-8th graders. “It makes a huge difference to our kids to have sophisticated, dedicated STEAM space to apply skills and more deeply explore real-world problem-solving,” says Middle School Head and Assistant Head of School for Academic Life Renée C. Price.
The new teaching kitchen “has been a vision that [PDS Garden Coordinator] Pam Flory and I have been working on for at least five years,” says Sustainability Coordinator and Upper School English Teacher Liz Cutler. “It’s a learning laboratory for all disciplines.” The kitchen also will give the PDS Garden an indoor space to supplement its outdoor kitchen during cold weather and make it easier to prepare for special events.
The THRIVE! Campaign has transformed the faculty and student experience on Princeton Day School’s campus, and we are so proud of the invaluable facilities and enhanced programs, professional development and financial assistance the Campaign has made possible. We hope you’ll join us on November 5th as we celebrate the impact of the THRIVE! Campaign and dedicate one of its premier spaces, the Princeton Day School Athletic Center, which was completed last year. Click here to preregister for the Athletic Center Dedication event.