Since the earliest discussions regarding the extensive renovations at Eagle Hill, improving the classroom spaces has been of primary concern to the Board of Trustees and Head of School Dr. Marjorie E. Castro. Explained Board of Trustees Chair, Jeremy Henderson, "The Board has felt for a long time that we had to upgrade our classrooms for the 21st century, ensuring that we offer students and their teachers the most appropriate environment for kids with learning disabilities. We think the architects, with crucial input from faculty and parents, have done a terrific job in designing improvements to both the Griffin Academic Center and Hardwick House classrooms and common areas."
In addition to classroom spaces, the air quality (via new HVAC systems) and the lighting—including the addition of large new windows—have been improved to ensure a more comfortable learning environment.
Approximately 80 percent of the second phase of the renovation—the overhaul of Hardwick House—was completed during 2016. By September, the redesigned front entrance provided a welcoming and more accessible entry into Hardwick House. Outside, a wider driveway skirting around Hardwick House has improved the flow of cars in the dismissal lane, and the sidewalks leading to the Griffin Academic Center offer a safe pathway for students and staff. In late November, the new kitchen and dining room areas were opened, with enhanced cooking and delivery processes for the kitchen staff and a more streamlined system for the students.
In January, the new classrooms in Hardwick House were finally ready for faculty and students. Hallways that had curved around older rooms are now straight. Small classrooms were enlarged so that students have the space to work on projects and move more freely (a critical improvement for students with LD). Peter Kaminsky, a second-year teacher, expressed his delight with his new classroom in Hardwick House: "The renovations are just another indication of how much the EHS community cares about its students." Jen Booth, who taught in one of the former classrooms in Hardwick House, said that it's nice to have more storage and "the layout allows students so much more room to move. We especially love the improved heating system, and the A/C as it gets warmer."
With the arrival of spring, the final steps in the renovations/refurbishments of the "Building on Excellence" campaign are under way:
- ADA compliant additions, including an elevator for Hardwick House
- A ramped terrace and second level back entrance
- Enhancements to the second and third floor dormitory rooms
Finally, to the delight of students and coaches, the playing fields will see an end to flooding and drainage issues, while design changes include multi-sport field accommodations, a new scoreboard, and new bleachers for avid fans. It's on the playing fields that students learn the key elements of sportsmanship, leadership, and fair play.