Advanced Math/Science Research Update
by Dr. April Burch, Director of the AMSR program
January 15, 2013
Since our last update, Berkshire School hosted student researchers from Belmont Hill, and all-boys prep school outside of Boston, for a 1-day mini-symposium on Student Biomedical Research. The goal was to foster collaboration, communication and community outreach with our students. AMSR students Liza Bernstein '13, Sissi Wang '13, Lars Robinson '13, Elsie Guevara '13, Ernest Yue '13, and Nate MacKenzie '14, gave short talks about their work in the new Bellas/Dixon Math and Science lecture hall. The talks were followed up by break-out sessions where Belmont Hill students described their research projects and students discussed commonalities between the projects and future goals.
The second semester of AMSR started with some terrific news. The AMSR program was awarded a grant from The Chinchester Dupont Foundation for the purchase of an EVOS fluorescence microscope. This piece of equipment will expand the types of experiments and analyses that can be done by AMSR students this and future years. The microscope should arrive shortly, and Dr. Burch has invited everyone to stop in for a look next time they are on campus.
One new, exciting project that is underway in the winter season of AMSR in the afternoons is being spearheaded by Elif Kesaf '14. Elif is from Turkey and seeks to identify novel viruses of non-pathogenic strains of Legionella bacterium from travertines in Pamukkale. In collaboration with Dr. Sunny Shin at the Perlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, she will be working to isolate viruses of this bacterium with the hope of identifying new agents to combat Legionnaires' disease caused by a pathogenic form of Legionella.
Look for more news from Dr. Burch in the next issue!
Summer Facilities Update
Without the hubbub and excitement of students, a campus can feel quiet during the summer. But not this year! Construction vehicles and tradespeople are hard at work on a number of big projects that will transform the physical plant of the school in time for the students’ return for the fall semester. Finishing touches are being added to the new 40,000-square-foot Math and Science building; a new stonewall entry is being meticulously laid along the school driveway; a new track surface has been installed; new entries have been added to Stanley dormitory, including a handicapped-accessible ramp; and the north and east façades of the Student Center have been redone. In addition to these major campus improvements that will be completed this summer, some work will continue through the next school year, including the construction of the Fine Arts Center that replaces the Science wing in Berkshire Hall.
Click here to view a slideshow of some of the construction underway this summer.
The new Math and Science building, anchoring the west flank of Buck Valley, is nearly complete after roughly eighteen months of construction; some three-dozen tradespeople finish millwork, paint walls and trim, and install carpet and extensive landscaping. Faculty are due to begin moving into the new space by August 13th, well in time for the students’ arrival in early September. The new space will feature six math classrooms, eight science classroom labs, a 100-seat teaching auditorium, department and Pro Vita offices, spaces for independent study and collaboration, and an Advanced Math/Science lab with state-of-the-art equipment.
Click here to learn more about the Math and Science building.
A stunning new stonewall entry is being constructed at the base of the School driveway along North Undermountain Road. Using rocks native to the area, local stone masons are hard at work building two distinctive “farm-style” walls, each nearly 200 feet long. The walls are dry-laid, which means no mortise is used. By the time the project is complete, the stone masons estimate that nearly 500 tons of rock material will be used. New signage will also be installed along the entry.
A new collegiate-grade, four-lane track has been installed and is “curing” for the next month until it is ready for use. The new surface is certified by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), which will allow Berkshire to host registered meets and post certified records.
Two new entrances grace Stanley dormitory, including a ramp on the north side to make the entry ADA-compliant (Americans with Disabilities Act).
As part of a two-phased project, the plaster on the north and east exterior walls of the Student Center has been entirely resurfaced and all horizontal trim has been covered with zinc-coated copper flashing. Work on the south and west walls will take place next summer.
Finally, work on the new Fine Arts Center is underway on the site of the old science wing of Berkshire Hall. Newly vacated labs and classrooms have been demolished to make way for a new two-story space for Berkshire's extensive visual arts program, including expansive new Studio Art, Ceramics, and Sculpture classrooms, a new classroom for Digital Art, Digital Photography and Digital Music, a digital printing lab, and a new Art Gallery. Construction will be complete in the summer of 2013, well in time for the 2013-14 academic year.
Click here to learn more about the Fine Arts Center.