On the afternoon of May 9, 2017, more than 150 Trustees, alumni, faculty, staff, parents, and students gathered together for the groundbreaking of the Winn Science Center and McDermott-Green Science Building. The School community celebrated the past and looked forward to the future of science education at St. Mark’s.
Board of Trustees President Jon Mosle ’79, who worked extensively to move the Science Center Project forward, welcomed guests to the ceremony in front of the existing McDermott-Green Science Building and reflected on this historic moment in the School’s history. “This is a wonderful opportunity to come together as a community and celebrate this important milestone for St. Mark’s.”
On behalf of the student body, Student Council President Christian McClain ’17 spoke about the excitement felt on campus for the future of science education. “The experiences we share here leave a lasting impression that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. I have felt great fortune going to a school where I have state-of-the-art technology at my fingertips. While the Class of 2017 will not get to experience the new building as students, we are excited to return to campus as alumni and see future generations of Marksmen use the outstanding new Science Center.”
Standing in front of the future construction site, Stephen M. Seay ’68 Science Department Chair Fletch Carron gave the audience a virtual tour of the new facility, pointing out the locations of the science lecture hall, biotechnology lab, maker space, greenhouse, and more. “Two years from now and in the years to come, boys will find their passion for the sciences, much like past generations of students did in the McDermott-Green Math Science Quadrangle behind me. We’re here to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new physical structure, but I think we can agree that it’s the activities that will be held within that we will most hold dear.”
As the head of the Science Department, Carron has been closely involved in the planning phase of the Project, and he has seen firsthand the incredible amounts of energy and resources that so many have dedicated to the School. “We have many people to thank for these opportunities, from the generous donors, to supportive parents, to enthusiastic students, to dedicated faculty and staff—all of whom helped make today possible. And, our thanks and gratitude will be in the form of our commitment to the pursuit of excellence in the sciences and the creation of the next generation of leaders in science and industry.”
Eugene McDermott Headmaster David W. Dini also took a moment to share his vision for how the new facility will impact the legacy of St. Mark’s. “As we look to the future, we’re guided by the hope that our boys will go out with the lessons they learn on this campus and make an incredible difference in the world. I want to thank the Winn Family and Steve, in particular, who inspired us to dream big. With their help and the help of our entire community, we’re in a position to do something truly transformative for our boys.”
Finally, Steve Winn ’64, St. Mark’s Trustee Emeritus and Chairman and CEO of RealPage, thanked the School, the community, and the numerous donors who have helped bring the Science Center Project to fruition. “I’d like to make sure that every donor knows how grateful we are to have you join us in support of this project. To see you give so generously inspires all of us, because we all share a common love for this School.”
Motioning to the observatory dome installed in 1961, Winn recalled his first impression of St. Mark’s. “This School started off as an inspiration for me as a boy, when I was driven down Preston Road and first saw the new Quadrangle and this amazing planetarium and telescope. St. Mark’s is an incubator that turns a boy’s dreams into the accomplishments and character of a man. We want to continue what Eugene McDermott and Cecil Green started nearly 60 years ago.”
This special celebration comes after the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees unanimously voted in April to begin construction on this new facility. The resolution was the culmination of a nearly four-year process of planning that began with a $10 million lead gift from the Winn Family Foundation and included contributions from 57 other families to secure the more than $40 million necessary to fund construction. The Board’s Science Center Advancement Committee and Architecture and Construction Committee, along with science faculty members worked directly with architects and engineers to ensure that the new building will serve the needs of Marksmen for generations to come and benefit the broader Dallas community.
The combined 75,000 square foot Winn Science Center and renovated McDermott-Green Science Building will feature modern laboratory spaces, along with a new planetarium, lecture hall, greenhouse, and maker space. Other features will include state-of-the-art facilities for Lower School science, engineering and robotics, DNA science, and computer science, as well as expanded meeting and study areas to support student and faculty collaboration. Construction is scheduled to be completed before the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.