Marist High School is committed to hands-on, authentic learning that helps prepare students for college and career. To that end, the school opened an incredible $15 million, 10-lab science wing with a 30-seat planetarium in August 2019.
The Gregory and Mary Beeson Science Center and Our Lady Queen of the Heavens Planetarium has transformed the learning and teaching experience. “The space and equipment really allow us to expand our lessons and the opportunity to be in labs every day is a gamechanger for putting theory into practice,” Curriculum Coordinator of Science Carrie Spano said. Before the science wing opened, science classes had to share lab time, now each classroom and lab are one space.
President Larry Tucker ’79 was principal throughout the project and focused on how the space meets the needs of today's students. “Health science is the number two area of college majors among our young alums,” he explained. “The advantages the new wing provides students to work hands-on with elite equipment and technology is unmatched and will give them an advantage in their college courses and beyond.”
Highlights of the space include:
- Ten new labs dedicated to the branches of science including one Advanced Placement laboratory
- An anatomy and physiology lab with a patient diagnosis area and medical simulators that present human-like symptoms. Check out this video about the HAL, the child simulator Marist students use in addition to an infant.
- Access to outdoor space from the two physics labs for experiments
- A 30-seat planetarium for the expansion of astronomy studies
- A dedicated forensics lab with an enclosed crime scene for processing evidence
- An environmental science lab and access to outdoor space for labs
- A collaboration center for teachers to meet and plan cross-curricular lessons reflecting an integrated STEM approach to learning
- Mobile furniture that allows classes to change quickly from lecture to group work to lab experiments
- Student and teacher access to labs for independent research and experiments
- Walkover path from existing school hallway
This project was not only a sign of Marist’s faith in the future but of its pillar of Catholic faith. “We built our new science center around the concepts of faith and science because, as a Catholic school, we seek to help our students find God in all things,” President Emeritus Br. Hank Hammer explained. “In so doing, we can then help our students to make God’s son, Jesus Christ, known and loved in the spirit of Marcellin Champagnat and the Marist Brothers.”
Every student takes class in the science wing. The planetarium can also be used for presentations by other departments.
The Faith in the Future Campaign chairs Gerald ’90 and Jen Beeson and John and Laura Potocsnak led the way in this extraordinary initiative that was paid for entirely through donations.