Breaking Ground at Chesapeake Academy

Groundbreaking: The Arts & Innovation Hub Begins!

Article courtesy of Chesapeake Academy

With a little fanfare and abundant infectious enthusiasm, Chesapeake Academy broke ground on a dynamic Arts & Innovation (A&I) Hub in memory of Dianne Chase Monroe at the center of Chesapeake Hall on the Rowe Campus in Irvington. This A&I Hub, designed by Randall Kipp Architecture, will house the new James Library, cutting-edge innovation and design lab spaces, and a production studio, providing flexible, convertible, and expandable spaces for multiple uses now and in the future. This vital, central space in the school will reflect Chesapeake Academy's focus on the deep academic development for students involved in design and innovation.

"Chesapeake Academy continually grapples with the question of how best to prepare students for a constantly changing future. We know that focusing too much on recall and test taking does not adequately develop basic competencies or authentic life skills," Head of School Julianne Duvall explains. "Chesapeake Academy systematically embeds critical thinking across the curriculum. Instead of teaching a catalog of facts, each grade and subject address larger essential questions designed to inspire critical inquiry and broader connections. Project-based learning taps into student passions, igniting curiosity and driving learning deeper. We are now ready to move forward on new opportunities for our students in innovation and design." The new A&I Hub will house technological equipment, such as a 3D printer, robotics, and laser cutter, along with power and hand tools. In addition, a broadcasting studio for video and audio, plus arts and design supplies, will live side by side with software design tools such as Adobe Creator.

"We embrace design learning at Chesapeake Academy because we believe that it will benefit our students, increasing student motivation, developing resilience, and promoting deeper learning. If school serves to prepare children for life, it should look more like life and be filled with challenges and opportunities that truly build a wide variety of authentic skills," concludes Julianne Duvall.

Using seed money from lead donors, the plans for the project began in 2017. A one-to-one challenge grant from The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, along with enthusiastic donations from the school and broader communities, moved the project from design to implementation."We are delighted by this opportunity to offer Chesapeake Academy students all the advantages of a cutting edge education right here in our unique rural community. Innovation and design are integral to developing the flexible, critical thinkers who will lead in the future," explains Head of School Duvall. "This Arts & Innovation Hub is the outgrowth of rigorous research, extensive faculty development and collaboration, and the generosity of donors who can feel the passion behind this project. We are proud to name this exciting space for friend of the school Dianne Chase Monroe.

Students gather to witness the ground breaking.

Students gather to witness the ground breaking.

A very special day at CA!

A very special day at CA!

Keith Meberg and Julie Duvall, Chesapeake Academy Head of School

Keith Meberg and Julie Duvall, Chesapeake Academy Head of School

Randall and David Dew, Chesapeake Academy Board Member

Randall and David Dew, Chesapeake Academy Board Member

Future Architects visit Kipp Architecture
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Team Kipp recently welcomed two groups of very special guests to the Studio: 3rd graders from Lancaster Primary School and 8th graders from Chesapeake Academy.

Our 3rd grade guests (all eightyof them!) have been learning about ways to measure, specifically using area and perimeter. What better way to understand the importance of measurements than through examples of buildings and spaces?

Architects Randall Kipp and Ivy Stroud explained conceptual drawings, models, renderings, and floor plans and how math, science, and imagination are required to become an architect. Many students expressed an interest in becoming an architect when they grow up.

Interior designer Lauren Davenport and architect Trent McBride showed the students models, renderings, and final photography to explain the architectural process from start to finish. They explained how architects and designers use perimeter, area, and other forms of measurement on a daily basis as they design homes and space plan interiors. There are lots of smart kids in our community. Perhaps we'll hire a few in 15 or 20 years!

A few days later, we had the privilege of spending time with Chesapeake Academy's Algebra I students. The kids have been working on a house-building project using algebraic skills including scale, ratios, proportions, measurements, compound interest and greater algebraic functions. Each eighth grader, acting as an architect for a second-grade client (how adorable is that?), developed plans for a "dream house" while staying within allotted budget. Second-grade client requests included things like hot tubs in bedrooms, climbing walls, a room full of chandeliers, and a unicorn-themed palace. 

The architects-in-training brought their models to our Studio to present their final project. Team Kipp, joined by architect Sarah Stanton and general contractor Joe Heyman, offered professional feedback to the students. We must say, we were very impressed with their creativity and attention to detail! Well done, Ospreys!

Check out these photos of our time with our special guests!