Designing a Future for the Masters Community

Behind the fencing and purple signage across from the Middle School lies a field of dreams: the site of The Masters School’s new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (IEC).
Last month, site work began on what IEC Founder and Director of Innovation, Engineering and Computer Science John Chiodo promises will be “a space where what is imagined can be made tangible.” 

The state-of-the-art building will be dedicated to the School’s signature IEC program and new curricular offerings in engineering, entrepreneurship, app creation, product design and computer science. 

Head of School Laura Danforth hailed the recent groundbreaking: “This facility establishes Masters’ role as a pioneer in entrepreneurial education. It provides dedicated and flexible spaces that support collaborative and interdisciplinary work for our students and faculty.”

Marvel Architects, a leading New York City architecture firm, has collaborated with the School’s IEC task force on the design plans for the modern, three-story, 20,000-square-foot building, which is slated to open in 2023. The building will welcome up to 400 community members at any time and has multiple classrooms and labs, including a robotics lab, an entrepreneurship lab, an engineering/computer science classroom, a middle school classroom, a science classroom and a math classroom. “These are places where our students will learn entrepreneurial problem-solving skills by doing hands-on work with peers, teachers and real world entrepreneurs,” Danforth said. 

Rounding out the state-of-the-art building will be five different fabrication spaces: a traditional Makerspace (with drill press, scroll saw, heat transfer press, jewelry kiln and computerized sewing machines); a complete woodworking shop; a paint shop (with drying racks and a ventilated paint booth); a Computer Numerical Control machine (CNC) and metalworking room (with a CNC router, CNC plasma cutter, 4-axis CNC mill and TIG/MIG welding equipment); and a climate-controlled digital fabrication space, which will house three 3D printers, a 40-watt laser cutter/engraver, a UV-LEF printer and a 54” wide vinyl printer/cutter.

Science Department Chair Dana McNamee is looking forward to what the new addition to campus will offer even the youngest Masters students. “This will open up a whole new world of opportunities for our middle schoolers,” she said. “One of the ways that we try to work with students in science is through the incorporation of engineering and design. By having a space where students are free to explore and dig much deeper into the creation of their ideas, we will be able to connect a whole team of people that may not have been able to see the connections between them before.”

Associate Head of School for Faculty and Academics Sam Savage is thrilled that the building will further the School’s mission and commitment to a rigorous education. “Its presence and the spirit of entrepreneurship it embodies will allow all of us to extend learning across traditional academic disciplines and to embrace opportunities to gather in celebration of learning,” he explained. 
Chiodo said that he always “envisioned a place alive with activity, with classes and individual students working and learning.” What’s important, he noted, is that it was designed “not just with IEC students in mind, but with thought given to how the space can be used by the entire community.”

Danforth is grateful for the generosity of the alumnae/i, parents and trustees who have helped to make this bold vision for the future of Masters a reality. “Since its founding, Masters has served students who have endless intellectual curiosity and a deep love of learning,” she said. “The new IEC honors our history and builds upon the decades of progress and innovation we have invested in and achieved over the years. I am deeply grateful to our entire community for its commitment to preparing our students to be powers for good. The new IEC will play an essential role in that preparation.”

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