BHS opens new Innovation Centre and promises to share it with other schools
Bermuda High School opened its new $12.2 million Innovation Centre, arts wing and theatre yesterday — and promised the state-of-the-art facilities will be open to pupils from other schools across the island.
The project, funded by 320 donors, has been used by BHS students since their return to school in September.
Mariette Savoie, the chairwoman of the school, said: “From the beginning, our vision was that this space would be shared with young people across Bermuda.
“While that is not possible right now due to Covid-19, I look forward to the opportunities and partnerships between BHS and other schools on the island, public and private.”
Linda Parker, the head of school, said the centre was the school’s response to “an ever-changing world and job market”.
She added: “We knew that we needed to invest in innovation, develop our girls’ skills in Steam [science, technology, engineering, arts and maths] and embed more inquiry-based learning and problem solving into our teaching.
“We also knew that we needed to expand and modernise our campus and build new facilities to meet our students’ growing needs.”
Ms Parker said: “Our focus is more on Steam because that is where the jobs are.”
She added: “Girls stereotypically haven’t felt they can be in the lead in those areas. We are providing opportunities for them to be the leaders in those fields.”
Pamela Ferreira, campaign chairwoman for the school’s Leading the Way drive, thanked donors who attended in person, as well as those from around the world who watched the opening ceremony on a live stream.
She told donors: “Each one of you have now left a legacy for the future education of girls in Bermuda.
“Your gifts of your hard-earned money are a testament to your belief and trust in this great school.
“You, our donors, have helped to empower our girls to allow their aspirations to become their possibilities.”
Ms Ferreira appealed to BHS pupils to “take advantage of this creative environment and challenge themselves and their teachers and explore the gigantic possibilities for advancement and seek out the advantages of collaboration and most importantly to be entrepreneurial in their thinking.”
The new centre boasts 21,000sq ft of space, 12,000sq newly built and 9,000sgq ft of it renovated.
The Innovation Centre has five science laboratories, two computer science and robotics labs, a creation and innovation area, a learning commons and library, a digital media studio, along with collaboration areas and a leadership centre.
The arts wing has three fine arts studios, including digital arts and ceramics studios, and an art gallery, upgraded music rooms and practice suites, a recording studio and a dance studio.
A blackbox theatre with drama studios was also created in renovated space and an outdoor “idea hub” was designed to link the visual arts section with the “maker-space”, which includes 3D printers and laser cutters.
Layla Kurt and Leahnae Morton-Richardson, the head pupils, helped Ms Parker with the ribbon-cutting.
Leahnae said the new centre was “a really awesome space for collaboration”.
She added: “The creative layout of the space really inspires us to think outside the box.”
Layla said the new facility “is really pushing us towards the future of BHS”.
She added: “The big, open space allows us to act more like a community since it’s a hub.”
Aziza Furbert, who graduated from BHS in 2001, is an account manager at Cosmic, an advertising and graphic design agency in Pembroke.
She said: “I was just in the multimedia studio, and was saying how much I wished I had something like this when I was in high school. It is phenomenal.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by about 100 guests, including Alison Crocket, the Deputy Governor, Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, and Renée Ming, the Minister of National Security.
BHS, founded 126 years ago, has 578 pupils, with an age range of 3 to 18.