In a bright and airy classroom, Grade 1 students work on math problems at trapezoidal desks that have been arranged in circles. Next door, Grade 2 students are spread throughout the room, putting together puzzles in one corner, reading together in another, or at their desks observing mealworms for a science project. In Grade 3, students work on laptops arrayed in front of a row of tall windows overlooking the playground.
These are the scenes of young Cougars who have settled in quite nicely to their newly renovated classrooms.
Over the summer, a remodel project transformed the building that houses the grades 1-3 classrooms. Each of the rooms grew substantially in size, from 750 square feet to 1,125 square feet, expanding into space that had been devoted to a middle school classroom and an old faculty room.
The new classrooms come with a bunch of new features:
- Interactive Promethean flat-panel screens that offer a wide range of educational apps and connectivity options in a tablet-like interface.
- New furnishings, including chairs that allow students to move a little at their desks.
- Upgraded wireless systems.
- Self-healing wall coverings that let teachers hang what they want while the classroom retains a polished look from year-to-year.
- New windows and energy-efficient heating systems to provide the right level of comfort while conserving energy.
Externally, a covered walkway on the playground side of the building was added so students can stay dry during rainy weather when they enter or exit the classrooms. The building's solar panels are still on the roof, but the new design hides them from view. And a third bathroom was added.
The $1.64 million project was funded through donations from current and past Santa Catalina families. Richard Rhodes, who designed the multipurpose building and the Head of School House, was the architect for this project. Renovations were led by Avila Construction.
Check out a slideshow of the construction and of the first few weeks of school below.