Middle School Classes, Offices Move into Renovated Lewis Building

The rooms still aren’t quite set up; boxes still need unpacking and the walls are still a bit bare. But the long-awaited move into the newly renovated Lewis Building is now complete, and Middle School students, teachers, and administrators are delighted to find themselves in a bright, modern, airy space that supports collaboration, community, and creativity at the highest levels.
“The renovated spaces, specifically the gathering space, really opens up the feeling of the building. This new community area provides great opportunities for collaboration, interactive learning, and relationship building,” said Director of Operations Tom Bourdeau. He went on to describe the specific upgrades to the space: On the upper level of Lewis, there are three newly renovated science labs (increasing the number of Middle School labs by 50 percent), a new large gathering space that overlooks Nonesuch Pond, and offices for the head of Middle School and the assistant to the head, as well as an office for MS faculty. On the lower level are two renovated humanities classrooms and a maker space. Additionally, there is a new IT Department suite and IT offices.  
 
The reimagined spaces now bring this Middle School facility up to the standard set by The Revers Center for Science and Visual Arts. Coupled with the upgraded Prince building, where extensive renovations were completed over last summer, and renovations to lower Haynes, currently underway, the Middle School boasts state-of-the-art facilities that truly reflect the excellence of its programs.
 
“We could not be more thrilled with the outcome of the Lewis renovations,” said Head of Middle School John Bower. “The expansive gathering space, complete with a wonderful view of Nonesuch Pond, is the perfect spot for Middle School students to collaborate with each other and with their teachers. It’s also a comfortable new home for eighth-grade homeroom meetings.”
 
Bower is excited about the impact that the upgrades will have on teaching and learning. “The science labs upstairs and the spacious humanities classrooms on the lower level allow for flexible seating configurations where students can engage in full-group discussion or break out into smaller pods for individual or small group work. The whiteboard walls create space for students to make their thinking and learning visible, whether working on a challenging equation in Algebra I or brainstorming ideas for their sustainability projects in seventh-grade Life Science and Sustainability. With the completion of Prince, Lewis, and Lower Haynes renovations, the Rivers Middle School now has classroom spaces that are up to the same high quality of those in the Revers Center, and we are so grateful for that.” 
 
Although they’ve only been in the building a short time, students and faculty already appreciate the potential of the space. On a recent Wednesday morning, science faculty member Josh Shaller was conducting class in one of the Lewis Building’s new labs. Students worked in small groups as Shaller roamed the room answering and asking questions.
 
“The room is awesome—even though it is not fully realized yet,” said Shaller. He added, “The students are helping to set it up, so that they will have ownership of the material and equipment they will be using. Their ideas are often better than mine! The space is ideal for running student-centered hands-on science, and each lab group will end up with their own space and equipment to manage.”
 
A group of students working on a project illustrating plate tectonics concurred. “It’s much better than before, in every way,” said Jordan Senior ’28. And Beckett Tower ’28 added, “I’m new this year, so I didn’t see what it was like before, but it’s really great.”
 
Across the way, math faculty member Duncan Flaherty’s sixth-grade class was spread out in the classroom, spilling over into the light-filled common area that forms the centerpiece of the building. Flaherty was appreciative of the ways in which the building itself creates learning opportunities: “From the wall-to-wall whiteboard spaces in many classrooms to the central common area, the Lewis building prioritizes collaboration in a way that reflects our values as a learning community. It has been wonderful to see students connect in this space.”
 
Students working nearby concurred. Nina Martin ’28 and Meaghan Richards ’28 were asked how they liked the new space so far.  “It’s awesome how the common room is bigger,” said Martin. “There’s so much more space for us to work together.”
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