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Hun School unveils performing arts, STEM centers

The Hun School celebrated the grand opening of its new Breen Performing Arts Center and DAYLO STEM Center.

The $9 million project transformed the western wing of the Chesebro Academic Center with state-of-the-art technology.

The 13,500-square-foot STEM Center and theater underwent a complete reconstruction beginning in winter 2019 with the intention of modernizing the facilities and outfitting them with the tools and technologies of contemporary working labs and performance venues, according to information provided by The Hun School in Princeton.

Both spaces were designed to transform learning with a hands-on, experiential focus, as well as enhance the student experience.

“These new campus landmarks are not only beautiful, but they will also become lively centers of campus life and provide our students and teachers important new vehicles for the dynamic, experiential development that are so essential in the Performing Arts and STEM fields,” Head of School Jonathan G. Brougham said after the Sept 28 unveiling.

In the theater, a lobby built with green materials, reconfigured seating and a center aisle, new changing rooms and a scene shop, new sound and lighting booth, and improvements to the rigging and acoustics are among the highlights, while state-of-the-art technology, a living laboratory, collaboration spaces, and flexible design stand out in the STEM Center, according to the statement.

Outside, the project boasts a two-story courtyard, electric car-charging stations, and an improved driving and parking configuration.

Extensive research was conducted to design and reconfigure the spaces for the dynamic needs of faculty and students, according to the statement. In addition to on-campus research, the team visited professional labs and performance venues, and consulted experts in a variety of fields.

“We took a trip over to the labs at Bristol Myers Squibb and we asked them what they look for in new hires,” Jacqueline O’Gorman, science department chair, said in the statement. “They said, ‘Two things – the ability to collaborate and be creative.’ We knew we needed to create spaces where students could interact with one another, create with one another, and actually access one another with ease.”

Longtime Hun School supporters Ed and Lynn Breen donated $5 million, the single largest gift in the school’s history, in support of the project, according to the statement.

The DAYLO STEM Center, which stands for “Dreaming Alongside Your Loved Ones,” was made possible through a $1 million leadership gift from Danna and Ben Weiss, according to the statement.

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