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Bob the builder

Tiana Lee '25

Sep 22, 2023

Between its flourishing, green landscape and beautiful buildings, Mercersburg is known for having a fantastic campus. This week, architects from the firm Voith and Mactavish visited the school. The primary purpose of the visit was to decide where and how the new STEM building will be placed.  Also, with the evolving curriculum in mind, they sought to identify other aspects of campus that could be improved. 

Daniela Voith, a founding partner and the Director of Design of VMA said, “Generally, our outlook is to try and reinforce an existing architectural context. So, it’d be a beautiful building in itself but the whole would also be better.”

During their visit, the architects met with various departments. Nikki Walker, the head of the science department, hoping for what the new STEM building would provide, said, “Areas to help students outside of class, group study areas, secure and useful prep spaces for labs, up-to-date hookups for water, gas, and electricity.” She added, “Some of these things aren’t glamorous, but they are what we need behind the scenes to allow for seamless delivery of information and hands-on activities for students.” 

Amy Kelley, the head of the math department, shared some of her wishes. “I hope it provides multiple spaces where the department and students can continue to work collaboratively and individually. Flexible spaces, lots of writable surfaces, that’s what I’m hoping for.” 

Of course, it will take a while for the change to occur. This is a huge project that not only consists of a new building but also remodeling other buildings, including Irvine Hall. “This is just a step,” said Julie Maurer, the Associate Head of School for School Life, “There will be more opportunities to intersect with the architects for other community members.”

One of Mercerburg's values that the architects will especially focus on is the school’s welcoming community. Robert Douglass, a senior associate at VMA, said, “One of the things that we’ve been told a few times about is how Mercersburg is a welcoming environment and the importance of it being an inclusive place, so I think one of the goals of these projects will be to think about how the visions of these buildings can improve the inclusivity of the space.” 

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