The Graland campus was buzzing with excitement and energy on October 19 as students, teachers, staff and trustees celebrated the grand opening of the Corkins Center, a new facility to expand innovation, creativity and exploration at Graland.
To start the day, students filed into the Fieldhouse for a brief assembly where Head of School Ronni McCaffrey talked about the significance of a ribbon cutting ceremony, likening the building to a gift that is wrapped and ready to be opened. She also shared her thoughts about how gratitude imprints memories on the heart before thanking the architects, Bowie Gridley and the Cuningham Group, and the expert crew of builders at Haselden Construction.
Board President John Gowen took the podium next, talking up some of the building’s features like the new Gates Innovation Lab, the Digital Media Studio and the “tree house,” an elevated reading area in the learning commons. Finally, Class of 2017 co-presidents Josiah Davis and Serena Barish each thanked the donors who made it all possible with their gifts to the ASCEND campaign, particularly the Corkins family who gave a $5 million lead gift that kicked off the fundraising and inspired other donors to pitch in.
To close the assembly, Director of Innovative Learning Marty Twarogowski came on the big projection screen as he led a video tour filmed by drama teacher Dan O’Neill to get the crowd excited for their first look inside the new space. Click to see
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By grade level, students picked up class banners and began to parade down the sidewalk on 1st Avenue toward Clermont. Waving green flags and carrying “thank you” signs, they turned the corner to the sound of the Middle School jazz band playing festive music and joined a crowd of adults assembled in front of the new iron gates that clearly mark the front of the school.
The Graland community then watched as David Corkins cut a bright green ribbon to “open the doors to innovation,” the theme of the opening festivities. As they entered the main hall and proceeded through the building, students and teachers were greeted by a reception line of trustees and donors who “high-fived” them and welcomed them into the new learning space.
While students retreated to their classrooms to enjoy a special treat, adults stayed for a brief reception and a chance to see individual rooms in the Corkins Center dedicated. Christopher Hunt and Sarah Anschutz ’86 Hunt cut a ribbon to open the Hunt Family Learning Commons, a combined library and technology innovation center. Jon-Erik ‘92 and Brooke Borgen were joined by their daughters Ilsa, Grade 3, and Greta, Grade 1, to open the Borgen Family Makerspace while the Martin Family Hall (lobby) was dedicated by Sharon Martin, mother to Sarah Stettner ‘95 and grandmother to preschoolers Cooper and Riley. The Gates Innovation Lab will be dedicated at a later date by Diane Gates ’69 Wallach.
Over in the Gates Middle School Building, the newly created Student Support Learning Lab was dedicated by the Freyer family – John Sr. and Virginia, John Jr. ’92 and Andie, Christina Freyer Walker ’97, and Miles ‘02.
Following the grand opening, teachers took turns bringing classes of students back for full building tours before instruction in the building commences on October 24. For more information about the new facilities at Graland, please visit graland.org/ascend