All Saints Episcopal School is bringing the phrase “It takes a village” to life with new renovations to its Lower School.

As the school heads to the finish line in the last phase of its capital and construction campaign, work crews are building multistory facades outside of each classroom to make them feel like home.

The facades range from Brownstone to Victorian in style, creating the illusion that the Lower School hallways are a street and the classrooms the homes and businesses.

Head of School Mike Cobb said not only are the renovations on track, but also the expansion to add two new classrooms also should be set to open at the start of the new school year. This is the fourth summer the school has phased in new learning spaces and renovations. Cobb is confident the team at JPJ Construction will have this final phase of the campaign finished ahead of an August open house and the new school year.

“We’ve got most of the really hard stuff done,” he said.

Each of the intermediate grade classrooms will feature smart technology, a small makerspace where students can collaborate to create, an area designed to encourage public speaking and engagement and an outdoor learning area pavilion that doubles the size of the classroom. In the lower grades, the makerspace is replaced with a full restroom for each class.

The rooms also feature the floor to ceiling “trees” that families have come to know and love from the entrance hallway of the building.

Crews are working to lay the foundation for the school’s Science Exploratorium, a geodesic dome building that will be designed to transport students to far off worlds to interact with learning games as if they’re really on the surface of Mars or exploring the bottom of the ocean.

“I call it the Magic School Bus of today,” Cobb said, adding that the dome also will feature skylights and can be used as a planetarium.

Other features of the renovations include the Oasis, a makerspace and tinkering lab, a curriculum library for teachers and more.

The school also is working on bringing the outgoing sixth grade class project to life. Each year the sixth graders design a new space in the school for younger students to use.

This year’s project is nicknamed the CIA, for collaboration, inquiry and action. The room will feature a makerspace, tiered riser seating, a patio area and a special snack and coffee area for teachers.

Cobb said the endeavor begins with students designing their dream project, before taking into account real-world concerns such as cost and space. They then begin to price each portion and meet with experts before settling on a final design.

“It’s easy to design this for yourself, but they’ll never use it,” he said. “They gave it to the group behind them.”

TWITTER: @TMT_Cory

Cory is a multimedia journalist and member of the Education Writers Association, Criminal Justice Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has appeared on Crime Watch Daily and Grave Mysteries on Investigation Discovery.

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