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More kids, more grades, more space; Spring Street school expands
Growth is part of the Spring Street International School culture.
Personal growth through a multicultural student body, which includes 15 students from Korea, China and Germany, and through extensive international and local travel, which includes experiential learning projects in foreign countries like Thailand, India and Peru. And intellectual growth through a rigorous academic curriculum, small class size and dedicated teachers who expect their students to learn to think and write critically.
Now, both the school and the student body will be growing. A two-phase, million-dollar building program is under way. Student body growth will see the school adding grade 5 to the present grades 6 through high school.
“We need to grow in every way,” said Louis O’Prussack, now four years into his tenure as headmaster of the school. “I’m proud to say the school is performing its education and personal growth mission, but to continue to achieve that mission, our campus needs more classrooms and science labs, more dormitory rooms for our 16 boarding students and more common areas for school events, assemblies and performances.”
And more teachers and students, O’Prussack quickly adds.
Now, the school educates students from sixth grade through high school. This fall, it’s adding grade five - six more students, which will bring total enrollment to 78, including 16 students from Asia and Germany. As many as 5 more teachers will be added over the next few years, depending on whether the school reaches “full enrollment,” now pegged at “maximum 100.”
The building program is under way, an ambitious one made possible by the generosity of parents and benefactors, and by financing being worked out with Islanders Bank. The school is now beginning a new capital campaign to finance Phase II.
Phase I will provide live-in students with new dormitory rooms, apartments for dorm-parents, and a kitchen and dining area - a total of almost 5,500 additional square feet. In addition, a new classroom building facing Spring Street will add 1,000 square feet more of classroom space and a “quiet space” for teachers and students.
Armstrong Construction Company of Auburn is building the dormitory, using an innovative semi-modular construction technique that is faster and less expensive. Dorms are expected to be open before Nov. 1. Local contractor Herko Construction is doing the new classroom building, which is scheduled for completion before school starts in September.
Phase II, scheduled for 2014 completion, will add a 3,000 square foot campus commons building to the new dormitory. The present classroom building will be reconfigured for more classroom and laboratory space, and the existing “West Wing” historic house will be remodeled into more classrooms and study areas. For now, the historic Nash House will continue to house staff and teacher offices and several small meeting rooms.
O’Prussack and the school’s staff of 12 know they’ve embarked on major changes, but they’re determined that the defining characteristics of the school - strong bonding among students, close relationships between students and teachers, careful focus and attention on every student - will not be lost.
“We have a great thing going here, and the new buildings, teachers and students will make a fine school even more outstanding,” said O’Prussack.