When Berkeley Carroll students and faculty returned to school last month, they were greeted by brand new facilities in our Lincoln Place building and they are wasting no time taking advantage of them.
Students now have full use of dedicated Middle School and Upper School libraries, additional and larger Upper School science labs, a new performing arts classroom, and our new 2,000 square foot state-of-the-art STEAM lab, henceforth known as the Beta Lab. Renovations, which began in May 2016, were completed four months ahead of schedule — just in time for the new school year
The Beta Lab provides the space, equipment and expertise to integrate engineering principles — such as measurement, prototyping, and the ability to advocate for an idea — into classes of all disciplines. Staffed by our new full-time Engineer-in-Residence Ryan Byrne, the Beta Lab provides a spacious, well-equipped location for classes to take hands-on learning to the next level. Berkeley Carroll is one of the only PreK-12 schools in the country to employ an engineer-in-residence, and Mr. Byrne's passion for engineering and robotics and his experience in the private sector at SpaceX and a medical device manufacturer make him ideal for this position.
Already, Middle School science classes are using the Beta Lab for large-scale projects such as designing and building cardboard satellites to learn about the instruments NASA uses to monitor the Earth's atmosphere and ocean currents. Physics, engineering, and design classes, including students in our three-year Science Research and Design Program, have also approached Mr. Byrne for help on projects ranging from art installations to retrofitted electronics.
"We want students to be inspired to experiment and demonstrate their ideas in an environment that embraces exploration and discovery as they scale up projects, conduct long-term research, prototype and test inventions, and delve into robotics," says Brandon Clarke, BC's Assistant Head of School for Program.
And because the Beta Lab was designed to inspire student experimentation, more exciting uses are yet to be discovered. The lab provides the space to accommodate equipment and materials for which we haven't yet planned, and we are excited to see the creative and critical projects our students and faculty dream up in the months and years to come. (If you build it, they will come!)
See before and after photos of our construction projects.
See more photos of students using the Beta Lab.