Goodbye, Old Friend
After more than sixty years, Pomfret bids farewell to Monell.
During an outdoor ceremony in front of the Ambrose Monell III Science Building, Associate Head of School Don Gibbs, who taught science in Monell for many years, said, “My father graduated from Pomfret in 1965, and my son Jeffrey did the same in 2020. My dad remembers the Pomfret legends that educated him — Per-Jan Ranhoff, Carl Swinnerton, Ben Morgan, and Walt Hinchman — and how they breathed life and relevance into the then-new Monell Science Building. Jeffrey still talks about the impact made by his science teachers: Mary Screen, Bill Martin, Ellen Browne, and Annie O’Sullivan."
The ceremony was attended by trustees, administrators, and faculty, as well as the architects and builders associated with the project. Senior Collaborating Architect Ann Beha and Associate Principal Architect Jason Bowers, of Annum Architects, represented the design team. Based in Boston, Annum is an award-winning, nationally-recognized firm founded by Beha over thirty years ago. “The goal here was to create something that will not just be a center for science, but a center for the whole community,” they said.
Also in attendance were Project Superintendent Chris Kulak and Project Manager Hector Bermudez, of Shawmut Design and Construction, a $1.3 billion firm with offices in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Providence, Las Vegas, Miami, and Chicago, among others. Shawmut is no stranger to Pomfret, having partnered previously on the renovation of Hard Auditorium in 2022 and the construction of our Health and Wellness Center in 2018. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Pomfret on this amazing project,” said Kulak.
In September, Pomfret announced the most ambitious fundraising campaign in Pomfret’s history. Amplify: The Campaign for Pomfret School is a multi-year fundraising effort built around four core priorities: the advancement of teaching and learning, the expansion of access and affordability, the fortification of annual giving, and, of course, the need for a new science center. To date, thousands of donors have contributed more than $64 million in gifts, commitments, and pledges — including much of the $22 million needed to build a new science center where Monell now stands.
Near the end of his remarks, Gibbs said, “On this site, in eighteen short months, will be a new space that recommits Pomfret School to science, technology, and engineering. The building is designed to honor the values that we hold dear … a place to become known and needed, a witness to and an intentional facilitator of student discovery and growth, and a springboard to a life of purpose and meaning ... Thank you, all, for investing in Pomfret and its students, today and tomorrow. Certa viriliter!”