About Lab+ and the Master Plan

What will Lab+ accomplish?

The Lab+ priorities funded out of this campaign are focused on providing each student and teacher with the resources they need to make the most of every day:

Enhancing the arts

From music to painting, from drama to photography, the Lab+ Campaign will allow the Schools to build spaces dedicated to the arts that match the creativity and talent of our students and teachers.

Upgrading our historic campus

Lab will update its existing buildings to meet 21st-century learning standards. Simple but critical improvements, such as modernized heating and cooling systems, will address basic infrastructure needs and complement the creation of new spaces. The latter will include community-gathering areas—both grand and intimate—and additional science and computer labs. Throughout the campus, technology will be brought into daily classroom life in the most appropriate and beneficial ways. At the same time, those aspects of our spaces essential to traditional learning modes will be preserved and enhanced.

Creating a new space for early childhood education

Lab will build a transformative new Early Childhood Campus (ECC) to house the renowned N/K, first, and second grade programs. The ECC will allow us to accommodate increased enrollment at the lowest grades and will provide our youngest learners with spaces tailored to maximize their independence, offer indoor gross motor skills areas, and connect indoor and outdoor learning more seamlessly.

Providing increased student aid

Lab+ will ensure that financial considerations do not get in the way of attracting the best and brightest students to our Schools. We understand that student aid is important to our community, as evidenced by the fact that, in just the past few years, donor support has allowed us to increase the number of full scholarships from one to 18.

Enhancing our libraries

Investment in libraries is one way Lab+ will guarantee teachers and students have the resources and spaces they need for one of the best educational experiences in the country. Blaine Library will be expanded from its current location (once regular classrooms) into a space designed to hold books and facilitate greater use (i.e., story-time for one class while another accesses the stacks). The Middle and High School libraries will grow their age-appropriate collections and workspaces, but we will still recognize how children at these ages need to cross back and forth between levels of reading sophistication.

Why are the Schools taking on this large project? Why does Lab need to be bigger?

The basis of Lab+ is not flashy new facilities or growth for growth’s sake. It is about ensuring that the Laboratory Schools continue to deliver the best-in-class education they have always been known for and about ensuring that our students and faculty have the resources and spaces they need to fulfill the Schools’ mission. 

With that broader set of concerns in mind, here are the specific issues we hope to address through Lab+:

  • Our existing facilities cannot accommodate the huge growth in demand from both the University and the broader community. If we do not increase our space, we will not be able to maintain the socio-economic and racial diversity that has been the hallmark of a Lab education.
  • We risk losing the best students and faculty to both private and public options, where facilities are superior to Lab’s, if we do not modernize and upgrade our buildings.
  • Our visual and performing arts spaces are woefully inadequate. Our art classrooms, rehearsal, and performance areas were originally designed for other purposes. Consequently, they do not provide the proper lighting, acoustics, and configuration of space to allow our students’ interest in and passion for the arts to flourish.
  • Lab’s historic buildings require updates to lighting, heating/cooling, electrical, and security systems.
  • Unlike the vast majority of independent schools, Lab has no gathering space where an entire division can meet for assemblies or other programming. And our teachers lack appropriate work and meeting space.

How will Lab accommodate a larger student body?

Over a period of nearly 10 years, the Schools will grow in increments by a total of 276 students—104 in the High School and 172 in the lower grades. An additional division (Primary) will be added in order to keep each division small and intimate. And fifth grade will be moved from the Middle School back to the Lower School (where it resided for decades).

This plan realizes a long-standing desire by many to expand the size of the High School and to increase its academic offerings. Best practices support the concept of increasing the size of U-High by 100 students. 

Why should I support the Lab+ Campaign?

Ours is a philanthropic community, and many of our parents, alumni, and friends support other organizations from which they expect no direct benefit. We are indebted to the generations of donors who came before us whose generosity established the Schools and nurtured its growth for the past century.

Since this is a once-in-a-lifetime transformation for Lab, we hope that all members of our community will contribute, as they are able. If our generation takes the lead, others will follow, promising another 100 years of excellence and ensuring a Lab education is possible for outstanding students for generations to come.