News Archives

Head's September Message

September 1, 2016

Abbott_091012_228.jpgIn May 2014, more than 1200 alums, parents, grandparents and friends came to campus to celebrate completion of an extraordinary campus transformation. In literally two years, we built a new performing arts center and a new athletic center, enlarged and renovated the student Commons, and expanded the Quadrangle three-fold. At that time, it was clear, and we said it out loud: the next major project would be an overhaul of our science and library facilities — a project we thought could be ready for the school’s 100th anniversary in 2023.

But before the grass in the new Quad had fully taken root, a handful of families came forward and said, “We need to do this now.” With this encouragement, we began to imagine what this project might look like.

  • We put together a team of our science, engineering, library and computer science faculty. They visited science and technology facilities at public and private secondary schools and at universities throughout St. Louis and in Boston, Chicago and Raleigh-Durham. They also visited state-of-the-art facilities at The Cortex Innovation Community and the Danforth Plant Science Center.
  • We invited parents to share their views on science, technology and research at a Parent Forum.
  • The Board of Trustees formed a STEM committee to review the future of science, technology and research at Burroughs.
  • We engaged architects to prepare schematics — the footprint and direction of the new facilities.
  • We began discussions with the City of Ladue.

Several priorities emerged during our research. The new facilities should help our students love science and technology and build confidence in these areas. The facilities should provide ample room to collaborate and have hands-on experiences. The facilities should be adaptable in a rapidly changing future.

Quite frankly, the vision as well as considerable financial support have developed much faster than anticipated. We could begin construction within 18 months, with completion by the fall of 2019. Obviously, multiple factors will drive the timetable, including agreement on final designs, approval by the City of Ladue, and fundraising. If all goes well, we could begin even sooner. As with the last project, our mantra will be maximum safety and minimal disruption. We do not want to compromise our current students’ experience at Burroughs.

I hope you find this as exciting as I do! There are many details to be ironed out, but I want to share our current thinking with you. In this message, I can’t really give you a proper visual account, but in the next Reporter, I will present this project in much greater depth.

Slide30for newsletter-400.jpgOur plan is to remove the existing science and library buildings and construct a single 73,000 square foot facility that brings all of science, computer science, engineering, library, and family and consumer science under one roof. The new structure would be set a little north of the current buildings with views onto the Quad, the north Price Road entrance, the playing fields and graduation grove (which will be left intact). 

We envision a three-story building (with the lowest level partially sub-ground), incorporating the clay tile and stucco style of the rest of campus with considerable glass. The building will house science classroom/labs (clabs) and rooms for independent research; library spaces for independent and collaborative study and research; engineering spaces for design, robotics, 3-D printing, video and audio production and editing, and computer programming; a makerspace; a new auditorium (with views on to Leland Field); a rooftop greenhouse; additional meeting rooms … and more.

When this project is complete, I invite you to stand in the middle of the Quad and slowly turn. When you look at this new building, you will see science, technology and research. When you look at the Brauer Building & Schnuck Wing, you will see the humanities and international studies. When you look at the Commons, you will see the student community. When you look at Haertter Hall, you will see the performing arts. When you look at the natatorium or at the fields, you will see athletics.

As you turn, you will see Burroughs.

—Andy Abbott