DANVERS — St. John’s Prep’s new, $22.1 million high-school academic building is not just about bricks and mortar, said Headmaster Ed Hardiman and Principal Keith Crowley.
It’s really the cornerstone of a vision of how the Xaverian Brothers-sponsored, Catholic prep school plans to educate young men in the 21st century. This includes more collaborative learning and the addition of a middle school.
Yesterday evening, school officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the five-story building, which will have 30 classrooms. Site work began several weeks ago.
The building, going up on the site of the former tennis courts on Spring Street, should be ready by August 2015.
The new building, which does not have a name as yet, will be a STEM building, devoted to science, technology, engineering and math. It will have six full-sized science labs, six mini-science labs, three computer labs, and offices for administrators, counselors and nurses. The world languages department also will be housed here, in part because learning languages engages the same part of the brain as the study of math, school officials said.
At the heart of the new building, on the first floor, will be a new robotics area. There will also be a fabrication or “fab” lab. Both are aimed at helping students use what they learn in various courses in real-world applications.
St. John’s Prep will keep its focus on liberal arts, fine arts and religious studies, Hardiman and Crowley said, with students’ “moral development” also front and center as it adds to its science offerings.
To help students and teachers collaborate, the building will have a soaring, two-story lobby where people can congregate, and work spaces that can be rearranged as needed. The wide-open, fifth-floor faculty office will allow teachers from different subjects to interact with one another.