St. Louis School Celebrates STEM Building

CENTERBROOK, Conn. -- The Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School welcomed the community to its new STEM building on April 26, and the Centerbrook design team, led by Partner Jim Childress, took part in the day’s activities. The 86,000-square-foot McDonnell Hall and Brauer Hall enables the school to enhance its curricula for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Located in the heart of the campus, the new facility’s Brauer Hall serves as a center for the entire school community with its 800-seat amphitheater, small and sociable gathering spaces, an indoor/outdoor fireplace, faculty offices, and common areas with views of a courtyard with its outdoor classroom. The new building will serve as a bridge between two scholastic neighborhoods on campus: liberal arts and mathematics/science.

To accommodate the different ways that students learn, math and science spaces are large enough for individual and group study along with lectures, seminars, and hands-on experimentation. Although designed specifically for math and individual sciences, the spaces are deliberately comingled to encourage the sharing of ideas and resources.

“We wanted to provide spaces large enough to allow classrooms to have fully equipped labs for biology, chemistry and physics,” said Lisa Lyle, Head of School. “Oftentimes, in a setting where classrooms are separate from labs, you lose teachable moments when students ask questions that could easily be answered in a lab setting.”

The building itself is a teaching tool, featuring design elements that aspire to meet the qualifications for the highest LEED certification offered by the U.S. Green Building Council, including 100kW photovoltaic panels, energy-efficient HVAC systems, and a storm water filtration system.

Childress, FAIA, and his colleagues Project Manager Todd Andrews, AIA, and Job Captain David Symonds, AIA, made a presentation to attendees and answered questions about the building’s design.