How is Construction Impacting Admissions?

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Illustration by Samantha Vingers ’17.

Ongoing construction of the Chase Building has not impacted admissions, according to the School.

Next fall, the School is poised to open an enlarged dining facility, additional classroom space, a new college counseling office, and a state-of-the-art STEAM Lab and Maker Studio. Spacious hallways will also allow for ideal hangout space, and students will have more quiet areas to collaborate and study.

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Photo courtesy of Brimmer and May.

Director of Enrollment Brian Beale says that reactions from visitors and prospective families have been overwhelmingly positive.

“Families are excited about the programmatic and curriculum benefits of the space as well as the decisions the School has chosen to make,” Beale says, noting that he looks forward to adapting the tour as the new addition takes shape. “This is a very exciting time for Brimmer, and we are delighted to share our enthusiasm with the larger community.”

Associate Director of Admissions Jessica Christian echoed Beale’s sentiments, also noting that the construction has not impacted the number of tours for prospective Middle and Upper School students, and that visitors seem excited about the new space.

“If everything goes according to plan, students accepted for next year should miss most or all of the construction” Christian said. “This also seems to be an appealing bonus during tours.”

For her part, Head of School Judith Guild says that upon reviewing the School’s admissions statistics over the past five years, the ongoing construction does not seem to have any notable influence on current numbers.

“The trend lines don’t look that different,” Guild says. “Our numbers in our Upper School are once again quite high, which is great, and maybe that has something to do with the construction, but it also might be because of other factors, such as our strong academic programming, or the welcoming feel of the School.”

Guild says that along with the 6th grade, interest in the Upper School appears higher than last year at this time. Still, she reiterated that any spike cannot definitely be linked to the construction.

“We see these numbers and it’s clear that people are showing interest in our School, which is terrific,” Guild says. “But once again, it’s difficult to tell if that’s because of construction, admissions, teachers and students, the economy, or something else. We don’t know.”

Last January, Guild first announced construction plans to students.

“Every institution works to have a vision for what the School needs for the future,” said Guild, adding that along these lines, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which accredits Brimmer and May, made several suggestions during its last visit five years ago.

For a Feb. 7 Gator story, Guild also noted the limited number of science labs, which are growing increasingly crowded. The new space will allow the School to enhances what she calls the “hard sciences,” or courses which require additional space and equipment to conduct experiments.

Guild also noted that the construction’s emphasis on the sciences does not detract from the School’s emphasis on the arts and humanities.  “This is not an either or—it is a both and,” she said.

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