A Look Inside

A Look Inside

VISTA is on track for a Fall 2024 opening.

During the past year, the School has seen the new Science Building come to life. After returning from March Break last year, the old Monell Science Building was gone. Quickly, the new building’s concrete foundation was poured in its place. Over the summer, the steel structure was erected. The external walls were built in the fall, and the windows were set in place. During the winter, the multi-tone red and brown metal exterior siding was hung. While it was easy to see all of the progress Shawmut Design and Construction has made on the exterior of the building, it was hard to see what was going on inside the building.

Beyond the exterior walls, the classrooms and meeting spaces that makeup VISTA, the Venue for Innovation, Science, Technology, and Academics, are taking shape. The interior walls have been built out, making each component of Annum Architects’ design a reality. The wires for the building’s lights and pull-down electrical outlets have been hung and will soon be ready for use in science and engineering labs. The six-foot-wide fireplace has been installed in the Hamilton Hub — the centerpiece of the building — and is waiting for students and faculty to gather in front. 

"There is something thrilling about watching a building plan come to life. VISTA is a perfect example of that excitement—it's not just a building; it embodies our dedication to academic excellence and innovation," says Director of Facilities Services Brenda Bullied. "With its modern facilities and flexible spaces, VISTA will serve as a catalyst for transformative learning experiences, empowering our students to explore, discover, and reach new heights of achievement." 

Drone Footage by Head of the Science Department Josh Lake

The construction of VISTA is on track to open this fall. The $22 million, three-story, 22,000-square-foot facility will house classrooms, state-of-the-art labs, and community gathering spaces. It is designed so that every square inch of the building will be used efficiently. Steel-reinforced beams allow physics students to measure the trajectory of heavy objects as they swing. Oversized hallways called “commons” are extensions of the classrooms themselves. Everywhere, glass walls create an atmosphere of openness and transparency. 

At the ground level, a door in the environmental science classroom provides students direct access to the outdoors. A grassy hill has been left open to the north for students to gather and relax. Across the landscape, a large door connects the indoor Makerspace to the outdoor Makeryard, giving student engineers ample room to assemble their creations and store oversized materials.

"Early and upfront collaboration with Pomfret School and our design partners at Annum Architects has ensured a seamless construction phase for the new science center building, VISTA,” said Christopher Kulak, project superintendent at Shawmut Design and Construction. “As we round the corner toward completion of the exterior façade, the interior finishes are well underway, and we’re on track for the fall completion.”

Each day brings something new. As Shawmut continues their work, we become increasingly excited to see their progress. The Heads Group recently toured the building, and internal and external stakeholders will get their chance next. Before we know it the lab equipment, 3D printers, telescopes, and more will be moved in, and students and faculty will begin conducting experiments. The grand opening of VISTA, the science building years in the making, is on the horizon. 

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