Since January 31 of this year, Rye Neck High School students and faculty have enjoyed classes and activities in the new Collaborative Science Center. The entire school community had the opportunity to attend the February 28 ribbon-cutting; many watched the YouTube video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=93xWIglBqfc).
This week, Principal Tina Wilson took us on a private tour, pointing out all the state-of-the-art benefits, from the robotic machines and 3D printers to the Promethean interactive boards and power tools to the flexible desks and workstations. When the next Science Symposium is held, doors will slide open to the large hallways so that hundreds of projects can be displayed and explained to parents and younger Rye Neck students.
“In addition to providing new and modern classrooms, the Center enables us to expand the curriculum and the electives, as well as extra-curricular activities to align with the curriculum,” said Ms. Wilson. This school year, Physiology and Anatomy were added to the course catalogue; next year, Bioethics and Architecture will be added.
One of the interesting parts of the design is that there is an opening from the second floor to the first because, as Wilson notes, “Physics involves gravity, and we wanted to make sure students had a safe place to drop things from while they were experimenting!”
Before ordering classroom and hallway furniture, Rye Neck sent its science faculty to schools with recent STEM classroom additions. “Our teachers all came back wanting more flexibility in the classroom layouts to encourage collaboration. Many of the teachers have semi-circular desks, which are more conducive for conversation when students have questions,” said Wilson. All the desks and workstations can be lowered or raised.
Not only is the new Center a boon for Rye Neck High students, it has also benefited Middle School Science students who now have much more space.
Part of the courtyard outside one of the two entrances to the Center has been set aside for a future greenhouse. “Many students are excited about being able to plant and grow plants,” according to Wilson.
At the ribbon-cutting last month, Dr. Julia Tartaglia, class of 2007, shared what the new science center will mean for future students at Rye Neck and highlighted how her experience as a student there shaped the person she is today. “My research in high school gave me the confidence to move ahead when I was at Harvard. Rye Neck helped foster my passion for science, including an interest in brain anatomy and development. I had the chance to participate in regional science fairs at a young age and, through science research, gained a love for reading scientific journals.”
Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Lutinski and School Board President Jenn Rubin were proud to show the community the fruits of the capital infrastructure bond — a light-filled, two-story, 24,341 square-foot building that was designed and constructed during Covid by Tetra Tech Architects & Engineers, Savin Engineers, P.C., Piazza, Inc., with the assistance of many talented subcontractors and crews.
- Photos by Jill Lubarsky and Robin Jovanovich