Last Friday, September 25, Far Hills Country Day School (FH) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially recognize the opening of the reimagined Upper School science labs and newly renovated classrooms. The outdoor reception, followed by small group, in-person tours, signaled the successful completion of the major construction project, which began last winter.
Head of School Georgia S. Zaiser and Board of Trustees Chair Chris Merton welcomed a small gathering of guests, including donors whose dedication and generous philanthropic spirit brought the project to fruition. Their vision called for the complete demolition of the existing science labs—dark and antiquated, circa 1969, as well as renovations to and enhanced technology in standard classrooms—no small task in any climate, much less the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the projects’ improved safety features in the labs, reconfigurable work stations, and the advancements in technology in the classrooms are certainly well-timed to accommodate in-person learning this fall. “We are beyond thrilled to unveil this reimagined space to support our robust program and welcome our students back to campus to share the joy of learning together,” said Head of School Georgia S. Zaiser in her remarks to the guests.
Positive Outcomes for Students In mid-September, students returned to campus for the first time in nearly six months. They marveled at the transformation, and teachers were quick to notice the effect the new space had on them as learners. Julie Blanco, Upper School Science Teacher, and Department Manager, observed, “The new space, bigger windows, and color palette have increased students’ energy, curiosity, and motivation.”
Notable Details in the Laboratories A glass-enclosed prep room connects the two spacious science labs. It provides a wide-angle view into preparations and amalgamations, inviting curiosity from fellow students and teachers as they pass by.
Specialized safety equipment like the new fume hoods that contain and disperse particulates, fumes, and vapors with expedience were essential components to the plan. Science Teacher Cathy Cirrotti said, “Our new fume hood, the goggle cabinet, and gas valves make our new labs even safer, especially during COVID.” Other safety features in the labs include eye-wash stations, emergency shower stations, beaker and experiment equipment washing and drying stations, ice and refrigeration equipment, a dishwasher, and sanitizing stations.
Enhanced technology in the classrooms inspires collaboration and includes interactive projection capability and multiple updated wall-writing surfaces throughout the Upper School wing at Far Hills.
We thank siblings Amelia and Titus Welsh and Jack and Gianna Previdi for posing for a few promotional shots of the science labs under the safest of conditions.