The power of renovations


Ashley Ortizcazarin and Design by Andrew Cadle

One of the most important ways that a school can modernize itself is through renovation. BSM can help its students, faculty, and community through renovation.

Renovations and remodeling keep a school modern and up-to-date. Benilde-St. Margaret’s has been recently focusing on a number of projects in order to update the school and respond to the advancement of technology and the changes in teaching and learning.

It is vital that students have the learning spaces and technology that adequately meet their demands. “We want to build a school that serves the needs of our students and faculty,” Dr. Adam Ehrmantraut, President of BSM, said.

Even though there is a huge focus on how the inside of the building responds and changes due to alterations of learning, the outside of the school is still important. The curb appeal represents how BSM wants to be seen as a school. “Function is important, but so are aesthetics,” Ehrmantraut said.

However, renovations, as well as significant and essential projects, aren’t free. The school’s budget, which includes money from tuition and donations, determines how extensive a project can be or if it can even happen. “The money for the capital campaign comes from primarily alumni, current families and friends of the school,” Mr. Michael Charles, Advancement Director, said.

Everyone has their own ideas for renovations. Many teachers wish for subject-based classrooms due to the fact that traditional rooms don’t work for every school topic. “We really need new or refreshed science labs. That include everything necessary to run a chemistry class––things like fume hoods, gas jets, sinks, and storage,” Ms. Lindsay Novak, head of the science department, said.

Schools continually have to adapt to changing and different learning environments, and this can be achieved through renovations. By changing the layout of the school itself, this can be easily achieved. “Collaborative working spaces like the Library or the Commons… help the student experience and make our school more competitive,” Mr. Ted Freese, Chief Admissions Officer, said.  

Many teachers like to focus on renovations in order to improve teaching and learning. However, others would like to remember the spiritual side of school. “With more project-based education, more business, [there is] less time for downtime and community. A space to just relax or go do homework while eating lunch and not in the library, that’s the one thing I would love to see. A bigger space to be shared by students and faculty and staff to go and be a community,” Mr. Michael Becker, head of the theology department, said.

All students and teachers want a variety of different renovations to be done in the school. Not all can be done at once, but BSM has truly been focusing on renovation for the student experience. “In the last five years we’ve been heading down this direction to say how can we make the school and the curriculum more student-focused than it ever has been and allow students the time, space, and choices they need to do more real-world engagement types of things,” Dr. Susan Skinner, senior high principal said.