Student representatives from all Bullis classes, grades 2-12, wielded shovels at the groundbreaking ceremony for the 67,000-square-foot Gerald L. Boarman Discovery Center. Construction is expected to be completed in spring 2017.
The Bullis student body and staff gathered on a crisp fall day in October to celebrate the groundbreaking for the first new building on campus in more than 13 years. The Gerald L. Boarman Discovery Center, named in honor of the current Head of School, will be a 67,000-square-foot home for student innovation, exploration and creativity in the heart of the campus.
The new building will have 10 new classrooms and 11 science laboratories — including two exclusively for Lower School. Other features include a state-of-the-art Fabrication Lab, Entrepreneurship Center, multi-use studio theater with retractable seating, student center with a café, telepresence classroom and a rooftop terrace. The building will nearly double the amount of classroom space at Bullis, enabling the school to maintain small class sizes while expanding the size of the student body.
“This project will spring Bullis to the forefront of STEM learning in our area and will provide state-of-the-art classrooms,” said parent Kerry Wisnowsky. “The Fab Lab, modeled after the MIT Fabrication Center, will integrate with other Fab Lab centers around the world."
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony were Head of School Dr. Gerald L. Boarman, Board of Trustees Chair Andrew Blair ’86, Capital Campaign Co-Chairs David Trone P ’12, ’14 and Pat Caulfield P ’14, ’20. They thanked the many donors of the Capital Campaign who have donated to the $27 million project.
Boarman said, “Now we are ready to build the campus of tomorrow with a state-of-the-art Discovery Center as our centerpiece. Labs, flexible performance areas, more classrooms, a Maker Space and Fabrication Lab and more so our students cannot just learn, but do ... and make ... and create ... and bring their studies and their creativity to life. Tomorrow's leaders start here, learning to solve problems, collaborate and lead. They learn to put their talents to use, value the contributions of others and explore how collaboration builds a better future than tunnel-vision. In our Discovery Center, our students will be well on their way to accomplishing that and so much more.”
Other speakers included state Del. Aruna Miller and a representative from U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s office, Ashima Talwar. Both offered citations that recognized the Bullis School for its groundbreaking and the important role it plays in the community. Also in attendance to share in the celebration were state Sen. Brian Feldman and state Del, Kathleen Dumais.
Construction of the Discovery Center will coincide with construction of a new turf field near the existing softball field. The field is expected to be completed spring 2016 and the Discovery Center target completion date is spring 2017.