Maumee Valley Country Day opens new expansion buildingWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The students and faculty at Maumee Valley Country Day School returned from their holiday vacation to start the year in the new expansion building Jan. 3. The school conducted a tour of the facilities for the local media Jan. 5.
“Students, parents and faculty were excited about it and amazed with the new facilities,” said Gary Boehm, head of school at MVCDS. “We created an innovative learning environment for Maumee Valley students under one roof.”
The expansion project, known as the “Under One Roof” campaign, includes a new Upper (high) School, extensive renovations to the historic Smead Building, home to the Early Childhood preschool program, and an enclosed walkway to connect all of the buildings on the 75-acre campus in Toledo.
Boehm said the idea for the expansion and new facilities started long ago and progressed into the planning stages five years ago about the same time he became head of school. He previously served as head of the middle school with a total of 19 years at MVCDS.
The Under one Roof campaign was announced in November 2008 with a purpose to modernize the current facilities and create the best environment possible for learning while incorporating sustainable management with green initiatives, Boehm said.
“It was a complicated project with lots of challenges that needed to be solved in the field. The dynamic design creates a visual impact that people respond to in a positive way,” he said.
Boehm reported that one alumna said how proud she was of the imaginative design of the new facility. She told them it exceeded the facilities at a similar school her children now attend in Greenwich, Conn.
“The openness of the building affects the atmosphere for both students and teachers. The large hallways and glass walls play into our philosophy of open discussion and hands-on learning, said Tom Cambisios of Holland, an English and history teacher at the Upper School for 18 years.
“We had input all along the way, especially the science teachers on the design of the laboratories,” he said referring to the faculty.
The Upper School’s design promotes the idea of collaboration. Flexible classroom spaces allow students and faculty to work together freely within their classroom and with others.
Architect Kate MacPherson of MacPherson Architects in Toledo designed the expansion building to take advantage of the natural setting. She has direct ties to the school as an alumna whose son is currently a ninth grade student there.
Ground was broken for the
$10.2 million project in May 2009. Construction was completed in December 2010. They are still in the process of moving into some areas of the expansion building such as the two-story library.
The new structure was built by Bostleman Construction of Holland with materials and processes to create energy-efficient facilities certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. They are waiting to learn if it will qualify for Gold or Silver LEED certification, Boehm said.
Plans call for 650 solar panels to be installed on the roof of the expansion building pending news on a grant submitted by the school for the cost of that installation. Boehm said the school is working with First Solar on plans for the installation.
The new Upper School replaces the existing building opened in 1959 that will be demolished to provide open green space behind the new structure. An enclosed walkway now connects the Upper School to the Preschool, Lower and Middle Schools, Dining Room, Millennium Theater and Physical Education Complex.
The two-story building contains classrooms, a library and media resource center, sound and video production facilities, four science labs, numerous gathering spaces and a small auditorium.
The four labs include one for biology with a “grow room” or greenhouse, chemistry, physics and Earth sciences. All of the classrooms are equipped with projectors, smart boards, and wireless connections for educational purposes.
A daily assembly of students and faculty is hosted in the Kasperzak Center, an indoor amphitheater with glass walls on three sides looking out at the natural setting. It is equipped with a projector and large screen for live lectures, presentations and participation in distance learning programs.
Boehm said the support for the project was tremendous due in large part to the vision and leadership provided by Dean Kasperzak, Fred and Linda Diechert, Scott Parry, the Welles family and Steve and Ann Stranahan.
Maumee Valley Country Day School is home to 478 students from preschool to grade 12 with about 170 students attending the Upper School. MVCDS opened its doors at its current location in 1934 as a co-educational, nonsectarian independent school.
Founded in western New York as a boarding and finishing school for girls, it moved to Toledo in 1884 and became known as the Smead School for Girls.
For more information about MVCDS School, visit www.mvcds.org.