Convent of the Visitation Begins Constuction on $10.5 Million Tech Building
The new building will house additional classrooms and should be completed during the 2013-14 school year.
Editor's note: The following is a press release from Convent of the Visitation.
Convent of the Visitation School began construction on a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) building on September 27. The new wing of the existing school structure is part of an ambitious two-phase, $10.5 million construction project that will, in addition to the STEM building, result in a new school entrance and additional classrooms and study areas. The STEM center is slated for completion in spring 2013; the new entrance should be completed during the 2013-2014 school year.
Through this project, Visitation will expand its facilities to include large and small engineering assembly areas, a machine shop, practice areas for its award-winning robotics program, a conference room, four new classrooms, five new study areas, and an expanded dining room. Other updates will include a new, clearly defined entrance area to the school that will lead into a large, multi-level gathering space for students in all three divisions of the school. The project includes 17,800 square feet of new construction and 3,500 square feet of remodeled space.
The new construction project, designed by OPUS AE Group Inc., has been dubbed Visitation Heart and Mind (VHM) to recognize the two-fold purpose of the endeavor: the “mind” includes the new STEM building, and the “heart” consists of the new multi-level commons and entrance. The VHM moniker also represents the initials of the Visitation Sisters’ Order – the Visitation of the Holy Mary – and more deeply links the school to its religious heritage and the school’s longstanding belief in the relationship between head and heart, faith and reason.
“We are thrilled to be expanding and enhancing our campus facilities,” said Dr. Dawn Nichols, Head of Visitation School. “By constructing new STEM areas, we are responding to our healthy enrollment and enriching our college-prep curriculum, helping children of all ages more fully immerse themselves in rigorous, creative, hands-on STEM learning.”
Studies show that girls benefit from early exposure to math, science and technology, a finding that drives many faculty members at Visitation. A growing number of Visitation students are choosing to pursue STEM-related careers, including a number of Robotics team members whose involvement in the program inspired them to major in engineering.
“Women are relational by nature and bring a balance of emotional depth and rational thought to problem solving,” Dr. Dawn Nichols added. “By devoting a new wing to STEM, we are, more than ever, encouraging our students to find creative, thoughtful, analytical solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.”
“The creation of a new STEM center and a new entrance signifies the vitality of our school,” said Sr. Mary Denise Villaume, Superior of the Visitation Convent. Indeed, the school is expanding, with waiting pools in several grades, additional sections this year of both sixth and seventh grades in the Middle School, and an Upper School at nearly full capacity.
“Visitation’s expansion is not only due to our increasing enrollment,” Sr. Mary Denise said. "The building of the Visitation Heart and Mind demonstrates our ongoing commitment to educating students in ways that meet their intellectual and social needs and that inspire long-lasting relationships both inside and outside the classrooms.”
The total estimated cost of the project is $10.5 million. Money is being raised through private donations. Construction is being carried out by The Opus Group of Minnetonka.
Convent of the Visitation School provides an excellent education within a Catholic environment, combining a challenging academic program with the formation of students in faith, worship, and moral and social responsibility. Visitation offers a childcare center for infants on up, a coed Montessori PreK - 6 curriculum and an all-girls college preparatory program for grades 7-12. To learn more about Visitation, go to visitation.net.