BBA releases details of new, planned building

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MANCHESTER — Burr and Burton Academy has released a digital booklet of plans and renderings related to a proposed 25,000-square-foot building that the independent high school describes as the "centerpiece" of The Rowland Project — a $20 million effort that also includes a new courtyard, a classroom facility at Dene Farm and other projects throughout its main campus.

The new, three-level building — known as Founders Hall — will be set against the hill between Frelinghuysen Field and a current parking lot. The latter will become a courtyard with marble-block benches, greenery and a concrete plaza connecting the hall to the original Seminary Building.

The layout of the new building — which will house English and social studies classrooms as well as a "STEAM center" that mixes science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics — is intended to facilitate cross-disciplinary study and collaboration, Headmaster Mark Tashjian said in an interview on Tuesday.

Learning spaces and labs will flank a grand, central staircase that will serve as a common area and library, complete with bookshelves and platforms with tables and chairs. The top floor will feature a room with an unobstructed view of the Seminary Building's bell tower and access to an outdoor terrace.

"You put it all together and you have a really interesting, dynamic building," Tashjian said. Founders Hall may allow the school to "decommission" as classrooms its "least attractive" spaces and boost its overall student capacity, he said.

The project's design team comprises Kyle Murphy, an architect who graduated from BBA in 2007, and ZGF, a firm with offices in several major North American cities. "We're pretty happy with what the design team has come up with" given "the design challenge of honoring the past and looking to the future," Tashjian said. Vermont-based firm DEW Construction is now working with the design team to advance the project, which is expected to break ground in April 2020.

The Rowland Project is funded by the late Barry Rowland and his wife Wendy. The school announced the eight-figure donation in March 2018.

A link to the digital booklet is available at https://bbabullhorn.wordpress.com/2019/08/31/september-2019.

Contact Luke Nathan at lnathan@benningtonbanner.com.

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