An educational upgrade

A private school in Richmond is wrapping up a $23 million expansion project to upgrade its buildings and academic programs.

St. Catherine’s School started construction over the summer on the fourth phase of a four-year expansion project with a new science center for the high school.

The renovation and expansion of a new science center in Mullen Hall will add more than 8,700 square feet, doubling the size of the building.

As part of that expansion, St. Catherine’s will add two labs and renovate four others.

“We’re going to have labs up to date with the latest technology, with wireless and smart boards and lab stations,” said Nancy Habenicht, a science teacher at St. Catherine’s.

And starting next year, the all-girls school will expand its curriculum with new courses in the science and technology fields.

“We’re staying ahead of the curve to prepare them to go into any career they chose,” Habenicht said.

She said that many students have gone from taking a minimum of two years of science classes to four years and said that some are even taking five classes.

“This was driven by demand and interest of the girls,” Habenicht said.

The Grove Avenue school has added another full-time science teacher to bring its staff for the program to five.

Debbie Dunlap, co-head of the project’s capital campaign, said the school ended its boarding program in 2005. Space previously used for dormitories was turned into classrooms.

The school has 929 students, including 292 in the upper school.

This final phase of the high school expansion is costing $5.4 million for the renovations, construction and equipment, Dunlap said.

“The majority of support comes from alumnae and parents,” Dunlap said.

Kjellstrom & Lee, a Richmond construction firm, and Bowie Gridley Architects, a Washington-based firm, are handling the project.

The new science center is expected to be finished in August.

A private school in Richmond is wrapping up a $23 million expansion project to upgrade its buildings and academic programs.

St. Catherine’s School started construction over the summer on the fourth phase of a four-year expansion project with a new science center for the high school.

The renovation and expansion of a new science center in Mullen Hall will add more than 8,700 square feet, doubling the size of the building.

As part of that expansion, St. Catherine’s will add two labs and renovate four others.

“We’re going to have labs up to date with the latest technology, with wireless and smart boards and lab stations,” said Nancy Habenicht, a science teacher at St. Catherine’s.

And starting next year, the all-girls school will expand its curriculum with new courses in the science and technology fields.

“We’re staying ahead of the curve to prepare them to go into any career they chose,” Habenicht said.

She said that many students have gone from taking a minimum of two years of science classes to four years and said that some are even taking five classes.

“This was driven by demand and interest of the girls,” Habenicht said.

The Grove Avenue school has added another full-time science teacher to bring its staff for the program to five.

Debbie Dunlap, co-head of the project’s capital campaign, said the school ended its boarding program in 2005. Space previously used for dormitories was turned into classrooms.

The school has 929 students, including 292 in the upper school.

This final phase of the high school expansion is costing $5.4 million for the renovations, construction and equipment, Dunlap said.

“The majority of support comes from alumnae and parents,” Dunlap said.

Kjellstrom & Lee, a Richmond construction firm, and Bowie Gridley Architects, a Washington-based firm, are handling the project.

The new science center is expected to be finished in August.

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