More than 110 tons of steel have been installed in the CA Labs science facility, which is nearing completion. Thanks to stretches of warm weather this winter, work has moved ahead rapidly. The flexible, state-of-the art setting for science and interdisciplinary exploration — a lead priority of create + innovate: The Centennial Campaign for Concord Academy — remains on budget and on schedule to open prior to the 2016–17 school year.
The ambitious timeline has confined the impact of construction on students and faculty to the spring 2016 semester. So that courses could continue uninterrupted, four fully accessible temporary classrooms were established on the West Gate tennis courts during the winter break. Science courses were held in these spaces, which were outfitted with lab setups, heat and air conditioning, restrooms, wireless access, whiteboards, SMART boards, projectors, and emergency systems.
This summer, with the CA Labs exterior completed, interior work will begin from the basement up, with a finished building expected by mid-August. The steel framework for CA Labs was erected in the final week of December, and the outline of the building had already begun to take shape when classes resumed for the spring semester. Construction took place throughout the winter, in coordination with electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems work in the existing science building, and reframing of the existing roof to comply with current seismic requirements. In February, the concrete floor for the CA Labs roof was poured. From that height, the impressive view encompasses the Emerson Umbrella cupola to the south and Nashawtuc Hill to the north — and the new green roof promises to be a valuable vantage point in itself.
Signing the Beam
In December, CA community members stopped while crossing the Quad to sign one of the main steel beams that was later used in the frame of CA Labs. With cupcakes and commemorative T-shirts, the traditional beam-signing event proved a festive break during the week leading up to first-semester exams — a chance for students, faculty, and staff to leave their mark on a piece of the school’s future.