Tour of the New Lower School Building

by Peter Bloch, video by Isabele Riser

As the 2016 school year nears completion, we find it’s the perfect time to talk about the large elephant in the room, or on campus: the new Lower School.

For many, the loss of the original building that had influenced hundreds of students was heartbreaking, but as the new Lower School begins to take form, the excitement and anticipation of students, parents, and teachers alike is becoming incredibly clear.

As we speak, a number of construction workers, architects, and community members are working on the 18,000-square-foot, three-story new Lower School building.

The ever evolving vision for our school and campus is being carefully reflected through this monumental change that is indeed designed to produce the best and brightest thinkers of the next generation.

So as the school nears its completion, and all loose ends are tied off, there are a few things that the OES community might like to know regarding the new and improved Lower School.

“The goal of our new building is to organize classrooms around a bigger social area,” said Jon Von Behren, Director of Facilities, “it unifies the Lower School.” Jon couldn’t stress enough that the structure was intended to inspire the connection between community and education that OES strives to achieve.

The twenty two new classrooms themselves run on approximately one third of the power that a normal building might consume. Jon says that this is accomplished in part due to the many windows and white halls.

The coloring provides much more light for the students, and allows them to express their creativity so that they can personalize their education. Lastly, the heating is set up so that the little ones will feel a nice breeze in the summer heat and be toasty warm in the winter, so that education can be their #1 priority.

Of the whole tour, the most notable feature to the Dig members was the new LS Library. The giant space will be perfect for classes and students to read and relax in peace. The space itself is designed so that even if someone is being loud in one area, students on the other end of the library won’t be distracted. Having a strong core library is the foundation for success.

There is only one flaw with the building at its current state: the exterior color choice. The Upper School is torn on the coloring. While supporters might say, “it’s a nice organic tone,” or “it echoes the Upper School without mimicking it” (Kara Tambellini, Faculty member), most of the population agrees that it makes the building a fish-out-of-water and breaks the unity.

Regardless of color, the new building is going to be a masterpiece in construction and a glorious center for learning. Thank you to all who have supported the construction both physically, financially and emotionally. The generous donations will make the new Lower School a landmark for generations to come.

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