Falmouth Academy will break ground on a new amphitheater-style meeting hall next week. The addition is phase one of a $2.4 million upgrade of the school’s performing arts space and meeting area.
Academy officials will gather on Friday, May 23, at a courtyard in the rear of the school for a groundbreaking ceremony at 11:45 AM. The public is invited.
The new hall is scheduled to be finished by the spring of 2015 and will feature a three-tiered, seating area that can hold 250 students and faculty in the round. The hall will serve as meeting space and teaching space, as well as a gathering spot for other community events.
The 3,600-square-foot addition to the school building will face Beebe Woods and will be placed between the library and foreign language wing of the school. The access point will be from the school’s locker rooms.
“This gives us the space we desperately need,” said Matthew T. Donahue, director of development at the school. “This is a facility that can bring large audiences together but remain intimate at the same time.”
The principal use of the space will be the daily all-school meeting, a critical part of the school’s culture, Mr. Donahue said. Teachers and students come together for all-school meetings for announcements, for student presentations, for discussions on current events and other topics. The new hall will be more intimate compared to the current all-school meeting location, he said.
The seating area of the new hall will circle around the room to encourage interaction as teachers and students will all face each other, Mr. Donahue said. A conceptual design shows a step seating area instead of individual seats. The circular design is good for acoustics, he said.
Plans also include a small kitchen, a small conference room, and technical equipment for presentations.
The hall exterior will be as tall as the current roof structure of the school and will feature an expansive set of windows facing the woods, Mr. Donahue said.
Construction of a new performing arts center with a lobby and art exhibit areas is scheduled to begin upon completion of the hall. It will feature floor-to-ceiling windows that will face the motor vehicle entrance of the school and the front athletic field.