Touring the Future

After years of meticulous planning, the Winn Science Center is now at a remarkable stage: one can physically walk through areas of the building that have long existed only in drawings and renderings, like the common areas, labs, classrooms, lecture hall, maker space, and planetarium.
The project’s generous supporters have been among the first to receive tours of the construction site, along with Trustees, faculty, parents, students, and alumni. In fact, during Alumni Weekend 2018, hundreds of alumni and their families donned hard hats for guided tours.

“It’s an awe-inspiring vision to see a grand building arise from the ground after it had been in our dreams for many years,” said Lowell Ku ’89. “I was amazed at how big the building was. I had seen the architect’s plans and the artists’ renderings, but I didn’t realize how expansive the interior would feel.”

Lowell, an Alumni Board member and the father of Collin ’27, said he is particularly excited about the maker space. “With the numerous 3D printers in the lab, the boys will be able to print out an idea and actually see it come to life,” Lowell said. “What an amazing resource for them to have.”

The maker space and greenhouse also impressed St. Mark's Trustee Lydia Addy and her husband Bill. The couple are the parents of Fred ’10, Peter ’12, Dean ’14, and Tommy ’14.

“I feel very excited for all the great teachers who will have so much more at their fingertips to bring their teaching to the next level,” Lydia said.

Bill added, “We feel the building will help facilitate bringing practical science to the boys. Textbooks are great, but there’s no substitute for hands-on tinkering, and that’s what the boys who are so inclined will now be able to do.”
Catherine and Will Rose, parents of Charlie ’20, toured the building in the spring. “I think anytime our boys can connect to science as it is being practiced makes it more interesting and engaging," said Catherine. "It gives the faculty yet another tool to work with in making the content more relevant, more exciting, and just more provocative in terms of generating knowledge and curiosity.”

While supporters are familiar with the blueprints and designs, the tours provided a close-up look at some of the finer details. The inclusion of common areas that facilitate critical collaboration was a major priority in designing the Winn Science Center, a benefit Catherine noted during her tour. “St. Mark’s wants students to use the building's hangout spaces, study spaces, and small group spaces to interact with one another and with faculty,” she said. “I think that speaks to something that will be really special on the campus.”

Other features of the building also left an impression on Catherine, like its many areas of natural light, the way the structure fits in with the rest of the campus, and the considerations for how students will actually get to and from the building.

During his tour, Michael Wisenbaker ’93 took note of the laboratory spaces. “The labs are excellent,” he said. “They’re large with prep rooms attached to each one, which is really efficient.” He also marveled at the speed of the construction. “It’s just surprising how fast the building has taken shape.”

Taking a step back to look at what the new Science Center means to the School, Michael had a clear and weighty reflection: “It’s a testament to the importance St. Mark’s places on the sciences.” 

And, Michael is not alone in recognizing the foundational role of the new addition.

“The Winn Science Center will usher St. Mark’s to the top of science education,” Lowell said. “It will give our boys and generations to come the building blocks needed to go forth into the world to make a positive change in science and beyond.”

“Beyond” is a key term. The new facility is designed to enrich not only the lives of future scientists, but also enhance the learning opportunities for Marksmen across all disciplines who might one day follow different professional pursuits.

“What you hope for is to inspire boys to develop a love of science and learning that will last their entire lives, regardless of the career they end up choosing,” Lydia and Bill agreed. “The Science Center will certainly go a long way in achieving that.”
    • The Upper School Choir tours the Science Center.

    • Bill and Lydia Addy

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