BHS to create Innovation Centre
A new $11 million-plus technology centre is to open at Bermuda High School within the next two years, it was revealed last night.
The school said its new Innovation Centre would prepare its pupils for careers in science, technology, art and design, and maths, known together as Steam. Jennifer Burland Adams, the school’s director of advancement, said the school had exceeded its $10 million fundraising goal in less than three years.
She added: “It’s absolutely vital we look at Steam in two different ways. One is the world needs more people going into science, engineering and technology and they need girls in particular.
“We also look at a Steam education and the skills you get from that — project-based and inquiry-based education. These are vital and the skills that all companies are looking for in their employees.
“It’s the skills of collaboration and critical and creative thinking.”
Linda Parker, head of school, said: “Women are underrepresented in boardrooms, in corporate leadership and certainly in the fields of technology, engineering and science.
“At BHS, we play an important role in ensuring that more of our girls consider careers in Steam by sparking a sense of wonder and curiosity as early as possible and then nurturing and challenging students’ interests through our curriculum and inspirational teaching in a state-of-the-art facility.”
The 14,000 square foot centre, to be built on part of a car park behind the school on land donated by the Bank of Butterfield will be linked to the existing Butterfield Building, and include five new science labs, a MakerSpace — a high-tech science and engineering workshop — two computer science and robotics labs and learning commons and library, as well as a leadership centre for girls.
The centre was designed by island architects Linberg & Simmons, in collaboration with education architects from Gensler in the United States.
Renovations will include a Blackbox Theatre and an arts wing, connected to the Innovation Centre, and which will house improved music and visual arts departments with an outdoor “idea hub” linking visual arts with the MakerSpace.
Ms Burland Adams said: “Investing in science and technology and the arts, particularly at a girls’ school, really resonated with all of the people with whom we spoke.
“We know that we are preparing our students for exciting careers that haven’t yet been defined and that the combination of technical competencies, together with excellent problem-solving, collaboration and communication skills, will be key to their success. That is why a strong Steam education is so important and why BHS is leading the way in this endeavour in Bermuda.”
The fundraising effort is the largest in the school’s near-125 year history and Ms Burland Adams said it “may be the most successful philanthropic effort in island history”.
Ms Burland Adams added she expected to see an increased amount of pupil interest in technology-based careers as a result of the purpose-built centre and “our students taking advantage of international opportunities like camps and competitions because they will be in an environment that will be sparking curiosity and wonder from a very young age.”
But she said that the new centre would benefit technology education across the island, not just the school’s own pupils.
Ms Burland Adams added: “In Bermuda, I would hope to see the Innovation Centre become the hub for innovation and creativity in Bermuda through camps, workshops, competitions and people renting the space and using it.”
The fundraising campaign was spearheaded by chairman Pamela Ferreira and school board chairman Mariette Savoie, along with Ms Parker and Ms Burland Adams.
Donations ranged from $20 up to $1.5 million and came from families, graduates, staff, trustees, companies and friends of the school.
Corporate supporters who gave leadership gifts included Renaissance Re, Arch, the XL Foundation, Aon, Deloitte, CatCo, Markel, Argus and BF&M.
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