Ransom Everglades School leadership broke ground on the school’s new STEM Center on Dec. 13, celebrating the start of construction on the three-story, 45,000 sq. ft. centerpiece of the school’s REinventing Excellence campaign.
Head of School Penny Townsend, RE Board Chair Andrew Ansin ’81, REinventing Excellence Co-chairs Jeffrey Miller ’79 and Constance Fernandez, and trustees Eric Mendelson and Jeff Hicks ’84 attended the ceremonial event at the site of the new building.
Hours later, the school celebrated the holidays, the future and the school’s loyal and supportive community during a special holiday party that drew more than 300 alumni, parents, faculty and friends.
That event included replays of the groundbreaking that included Perkins+Will Design Director Pat Bosch, Building and Grounds Chair Randy Gumenick, past board chairs Rudy Prio Touzet ’76, William Holly '86, Ghislain Gouraige and Jeff Roberts, life trustee Eric Buermann ’69, attorney John Shubin '79 and many current board members and other school leaders.
At the holiday celebration, Ansin announced that the school had raised $42 million toward its $75 million goal, and thanked those who had contributed with gifts, expertise or time. He provided insight into the plan and its history, and noted that the STEM Center will face the school’s Visual Arts Building to create a new outdoor quad that symbolizes the school’s commitment to science, technology, engineering and math as well as a strong foundation in the humanities.
“Thank you to all who have helped get us this far,” Ansin said. “We’re looking forward to the future.”
Ansin reported that RE’s head of school and faculty members shared their vision and ideas for the STEM facility, which was designed by Perkins+Will and will offer flexible classrooms, fabrication and maker labs, a rooftop outdoor lab, solar technology, a reconfigurable multi-purpose conference and auditorium space, and a variety of informal learning spaces.
Scheduled for completion early in 2020, it is intended to facilitate out-in-the-open, collaborative learning and, in Townsend’s words, “outside-of-the-box thinking.”
“You can’t do any of this without people,” Townsend said. “You can’t do any of this without great faculty members, and you certainly can’t do this without great kids. The magic of a school like this is you put those two cohorts together – this wonderful faculty and these incredibly ambitious kids – and that’s when it all comes together.”
The party featured live music from the RE Combo under the direction of Jon Hamm and a toy drive for the children at Centro Mater carried out by RE’s alumni association. A showing of the late Dan Leslie Bowden's 2014 reading of A Christmas Memory played in the Pagoda. RE’s Food Service Director Alfredo Silva prepared a bounteous buffet and Adriana Dall’Armellina and Francisco Gonzalez of Dall’Armellina Vineyards shared Prosecco from their vineyard.
REPA President Melissa Buckner helped organize the evening along with Alumni Board President Agustin “Konky” Arellano, Jr. ’90 and event co-chairs Tania Dominguez ’87, Teresa Dyke, Allison Holly and Roland Samimy ’86.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The mission of Ransom Everglades School is to provide an educational environment in which the pursuit of honor, academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by concern for the physical, cultural and character development of each student. The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.