The Miami Valley School’s new building will make the outside reflect the inside.
According to Susan Strong, director of enrollment at the Miami Valley School, the school’s current renovation project is all about giving visitors the right impression.
“We’re going to upgrade our look so we’re actually matching what we’re doing on the inside,” she says.
Originally established in 1964, the school’s exterior appearance was mostly unchanged, even as the school added new technology and innovative teaching techniques. The school’s goal is to challenge its students to become life-long learners and compassionate global citizens. Students are taught with the Miami Valley School Immersion Method, which encourages students to develop their own passions. Teachers give students the freedom to both succeed and fail as they discover their own strengths and interests.
The Miami Valley School’s renovation, led by Messer Construction, is designed to facilitate this type of education for students of all ages while updating the school’s facilities. One of the most significant changes to the school will be moving its Early Childhood program, currently located on a separate campus about a mile away, into the main building with the rest of the school.
The Miami Valley School’s Early Childhood program specifically educates young children in way that prepares them for college-preparatory K-12 school. Moving it to the new location will allow Miami Valley to increase the number of children who can enroll while presenting new opportunities.
“Early childhood is going to be like nothing Dayton has ever seen,” says Strong. There will be several spacious rooms for working and learning, an outside playground and a main area that will include a cooking space.
Another new space will be the library. “It’s going to have a Makers Space in it for kids to their own thing,” she says. “[There will] be a reading section for the lower school (grades kindergarten through fifth grade). It’ll have books, but it’ll have a lot of technology as well.” The library will also have separate study spaces for working on group projects.
The school’s black box theater is getting a facelift, too. “What used to hold 80 students is going to hold 230. It’s still a black box when needed but it’s also going to be this place for lectures, for student performances, for big group settings,” says Strong. “We’ve never really had that for such a prominent school.” In addition, the theater will now have large doors that open the theater to the outside, allowing it to become a courtyard theater.
One of the most dramatic changes, though, will be to the school’s entrance. What is now a typical entrance will become a welcoming parlor and gallery. “There’s going to be this beautiful stained glass tree,” says Strong.
The school’s renovation is currently underway. Instead of waiting until school was out, construction started in September and has been ongoing throughout the school year. The school anticipates completing the renovation in August this year. The school is also in the midst of its capital campaign—it’s currently raised $8.1 million of its $9 million goal.
Despite all of these changes, Strong says that what really matters—the quality of the education—will remain the same. “We’re a completely different mindset [from public schools]. We do have the highest SAT scores in the city. One hundred percent of our students go to college,” she says. “Our goal is to have them be live-long learners, to really keep asking questions and navigate their way through life.”