Wow. “Wow” was the word used most often by parents touring the renovated Ketner Center for the first time Friday morning. After a ribbon (actually a DNA strand) cutting and a blessing from Father Finnin, parents were invited to tour the newly renovated, state-of-the-art science, technology, engineering, and math facility.
After years of chaperoning school dances and attending basketball and volleyball games and auctions in the old Ketner space (some of us old-time parents even attended chapel, Stone Soup and graduation in Ketner!), parents toured a transformed building. The front doors open to a conference and collaboration space, or digital “Commons,” which features a state-of-the-art desktop Mac lab. From there, students can walk directly into Mr. Brenner’s lower school science classroom. Even though Mr. Brenner’s classroom does not have any outside walls, the space is full of natural light from the many new windows as well as an open vista to the commons behind Ketner.
“It’s great; we can see all the way through the building in both directions,” Mr. Brenner pointed out to a group of parents walking through his class.
The middle school science classrooms are also bright, with high ceilings — perhaps the only hint that the building was once a gymnasium. Hanging in a commons area is the dinosaur fossil that was displayed in Fry Hall last year. Eventually, it will preside over sofas and tables where students can study, meet and socialize during the day.
Built as a gym and all-purpose building in 1997, the re-imagined Ketner building also boasts a makers’ room where students have tools and space to complete projects. In addition, lower school, middle school, and co-curricular (such as art and music) classrooms are equipped with either a SMARTBoard or interactive projection technology so that students can actively collaborate with digital media.
Even though students had been utilizing the building for classes since before the official opening on Friday, faculty, staff and students were excited to show off the newest campus addition to parents, trustees and community members who were on hand to see the beautiful transformation.
by Kelly McKee