St. Mark’s School of Texas students and their teachers are learning more than the curriculum this year; they’re learning about their new buildings, too.
In time for the school year, St. Mark’s completed its Science Center Project. More than five years of planning and construction brought the addition of the Winn Science Center and the renovation of the McDermott-Green Science Building, according to smtexas.org.
The two buildings are joined through a two-story glass connector, uniting 75,000 square feet of science education facilities.
“We could not be more excited about today and all that it represents,” headmaster David Dini said. “The original McDermott-Green Mathematics and Science Quadrangle was a transformational milestone for our school, and today we link hands across the generations, celebrating where we have been and where we are going.”
Construction crews finished the Winn Science Center in January 2019 and the McDermott-Green Science Building in August.
“Like most great things at St. Mark’s, this state-of-the-art complex would not have been possible without a team effort from so many people who care deeply about St. Mark’s,” said Board of Trustees president Clark Hunt.
In all, 60 families contributed $43 million to fund the project before the groundbreaking in May 2017, led by a seed gift of $10 million from the Winn Family Foundation.
“I can’t tell the Winn family how incredibly grateful I am,” said Mary McDermott Cook, a longtime supporter of the school and a trustee from 2004–2007. “Daddy recognized the importance of STEM, and it’s an honor to have the Winn name now connected to the McDermott’s and the Green’s.”
The 25,000 square-foot McDermott-Green Science Building includes nine renovated labs, a conference room, two student study rooms, eight offices, and a faculty lounge. As the school year got underway, students quickly took advantage of the spacious study areas in the McDermott-Green lobby. The lobby features three 275-gallon aquariums, as well as the couches and tables.
“The first week in the renovated McDermott-Green Science Building was a hit,” science department chair Fletcher Carron said. “Students were excited to finally get inside the building, and the new study rooms and public areas have been very popular for collaborative work.”
Teachers and students are just starting to realize the full potential of the buildings.
The lower school has an updated science curriculum.
Stewart Mayer, St. Mark’s first maker space director, is introducing new projects.
And increasing time with the planetarium’s software will bring new opportunities for more cross-departmental lessons to emerge.
“This new space is a breath of fresh air,” science teacher John Mead said. “The space and spirit of the original building are still here but the renovation added modern technology as well as a brighter, more student-centric classroom space.”