Chaminade High School is nearing completion on its new Science, Technology and Research Center that is scheduled to open in the spring. The 34,000 square-foot space will be the first of its kind for high school students in the tristate area.
All of Chaminade’s 1,700 students will take classes in the science center, which includes seven new teaching labs where students will study biology, chemistry, physics, geosciences, fabrication and robotics. The new science center will also be a dedicated space for the school’s Science Olympiad team, a space which will be 40 times larger than its current facility. Students will also have access to the latest technology for hands-on analysis and research, including an Anatomage digital anatomy table, computerized lab probes, a Foucault pendulum, observatory dome and a hydrodynamics simulator.
In the science center’s 10,000 square-foot basement, two thirds of that space will host a fabrication and robotics lab. 3D scanners, 3D printers, metal working tools and AutoCAD equipped computers will help empower students to design parts, construct their own robots and have them compete in elite competitions.
In the biology labs, besides having access to a fleet of digital microscopes, students will now have the opportunity to use an Anatomage digital anatomy table, which will allow them to section and anatomize a 3D virtual life-sized human body with X-ray and surgical simulations.
The science center’s rooftop is designed to accommodate both scientific instruction and environmental stewardship. The rooftop will feature a meteorological observation deck allowing students to study atmosphere, weather and sunlight. A digital programmable telescope for instruction in astronomy will reside in the center’s observatory dome. Also on the science center’s rooftop will be a low density soil mixture that will host a mass variety of different types of flowers and plants. The soil will manage run off while the flowers will shade the building from direct sunlight during the day and insulate the building during the night thus eliminating Chaminade’s cooling and heating costs.
With all this amazing new technology at their disposal, the students at Chaminade are pretty excited to get down to work.
“We’re all wondering when we’re going to finally get a chance to get in and start working,” said Chaminade senior Aidan Fitzgerald. “I think with this new building we’re going to be able to go a lot deeper into certain topics than we would have been able to without it. I know the freshman class is really excited to spend four years getting to know the building and fully enjoy it.”
Statistics on STEM in education and in the workplace is what motivated Chaminade’s decision to undertake this overwhelming and costly construction project. Just within the last decade, the number of STEM jobs grew 25 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“We have an obligation to provide our students with a strong foundation in science, technology and research,” said Brother Thomas Cleary, president of Chaminade. “It is of the utmost importance in today’s workforce. Our current facilities simply cannot be retrofitted to meet that need. The tools in the Science, Technology and Research Center will expand our students’ knowledge—preparing them for rigorous collegiate coursework and a competitive job market.”
Chaminade has launched a daring $20 million fundraising campaign to fund the construction of the building and the technology and tools it will house. The support for the science center will come from parents, alumni and alumni parents, among many others.
Chaminade has already revamped its academic program in anticipation of the science center’s early spring opening. While organizing the continued importance of a solid liberal-arts curriculum, Chaminade has integrated more digital, collaborative coursework in classes across all subjects.
“I think it comes down to the fact that we have to invest in our future,” said Fitzgerald. “Making our science program the best it possibly can be sets all of our students up to do the best that they can with finding a career and having all the tools at their disposal to make sure they can seize any opportunity they want to.”