Sam Sandler ’24
During the previous summer, St. Andrew’s staff members (along with hired contractors) were busy upgrading the floors and bathrooms in the main building before the return to campus at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year. The final updates came at the end of a two year-long renovation that involved more costly and complex upgrades to the existing systems with positive changes to the general appearance of the interior spaces of the building, and many upgrades to the behind the scenes features including a better heating and cooling system. Associate Head of School, David Brown, was a part of the planning team for these new renovations, which gives him an inside look into the current upgrades to campus and the future of St. Andrew’s with other plans for renovations and changes currently in the works.
When asked about the changes that were made this summer, Mr. Brown mentioned, “There is now a really nice floor with the Lion Seal outside the library doors near the front entrance to the building which I think is great.” He also stated that the upgrades to the bathroom came after a much needed 25 plus years of use, and that he was excited about the upgraded look of Mr. Caceres’s desk in the front office.
Mr. Brown estimates that these changes were about 1.1 million dollars and he personally thinks that the changes are a “really positive thing” for our community. He further explained that, “I think the bathrooms were in need of work, and I am pleased with how they look. I hope the students take care of them and appreciate that these bathrooms are nice and new.” He also hopes that students will “keep them looking good” and that he feels “a sense of pride when he sees the Lion seal by the library.” He stated, “The seal looks good, and I hope the students have that sense of pride about our school and I am really pleased with how it turned out.”
As a further result of these changes, St. Andrew’s has become increasingly environmentally friendly with a decrease in electricity use from both the heating and cooling systems and from the new interior lighting. Mr. Brown explained that, “The lights are running off of occupancy sensors, and even our heating and cooling systems are running off of occupancy sensors.” He said, “If movement is not detected in the room, the system will lower or raise the temperature according to the outside temperature.”
While these changes were more noticeable to the St. Andrew’s students and faculty, St. Andrew’s has also made changes to the furniture in both the library and student center. Mr. Brown stated that, “We have ordered some new furniture for the student center. The red benches are currently being reupholstered and they will be back shortly.” He mentioned that some of this re-upholstery has taken place already with the furniture in the library and that new furniture is coming for that space as well.
He also said that, “The large collaboration table with the high top seating outside of the Student Center is so popular with students that we have ordered a second one.” Mr. Brown stated that a few televisions have been hung to show upcoming sporting events, the weather forecast and quotes, which can be located in the middle school hallway and in the Student Center.
There will be more changes coming within the next year. This will include the entrance to the Dreyfuss Library which is being fitted with an all glass doorway as shown in the architectural rendering above. Mr. Brown said that, “This will either happen later this year or during next summer. This is exciting news that I learned about yesterday.” Further changes like these continue to be discussed by the St. Andrew’s faculty and administration, while more changes are definitely coming soon.
Outside of the main building and student center, other short term projects are arising within this school year. “This year, starting in March, the Kiplinger building is going to go offline so we can renovate that building. We made the decision to renovate the building and keep the footprint that it is on for now.” He added that during the renovations, “We are going to expand it a little bit. In 10 years, we might take that building down to build a new building because that is one of our best sites left for a state-of-the-art structure.”
The current plan regarding the future of the Kiplinger building includes the possibility of tearing down the building to create a new space that could house a lunchroom, more performing arts spaces, or more science classrooms. He stated that he could see reasons for doing all of these things, but that “we really need more science classrooms since those spaces are unique and they require specialized things like the many lab stations in the Chemistry room. We could also take MacDonald Hall and make some science classrooms there. We will see what happens.” This plan to eventually tear down Kiplinger is a part of the creation of a new master plan that is slated to be completed around May of this school year.
Hord Coplan Macht, or HCM, is the architecture firm that has been hired to help create this future master plan. Mr. Brown said, “They are helping us with a campus master plan which is a vision of what the campus will look like, and should look like in 15-20 years.” He explained the reasoning behind the creation of the plan is “to help us think through where the available building sites are on campus, and what are our priorities.” He said that, “Our last campus master plan was done in 2005, and a lot of the building that we did in the past 20 years was necessary. Having one gym was really restrictive, we needed to build a student center that has two gyms. Our lower school was in a rented facility in Potomac Village, and our rental terms were not good. So we built the lower school building.”
Mr. Brown explained that we are at a point where “there is no immediate need in terms of buildings and spaces so we want to look further ahead, and we want to ask ourselves how we are using our 20 acres and how we can think creatively about how we can use our space in the future.” These plans will continue to be outlined in the creation of this new master plan with HCM and St. Andrew’s faculty.
While many changes are still up in the air, Mr. Brown stated, “I am not sure what the master plan will hold, but I am eager to learn more throughout the process of creating the new plan this year.” The new master plan is not only exciting for Mr. Brown, but it is exciting for the students and other faculty members to see what our campus will look like in the near future and beyond.
Photograph provided by Sam Sandler