On Tuesday, October 8th, Morristown-Beard School held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on campus to officially unveil its new Center for Innovation & Design.
Located below the Dining Hall, the Center for Innovation & Design (CID) will inspire and support “design thinking” for both Middle and Upper School students where they can connect with their passions, collaborate and engage with each other and with faculty, and develop new ideas and products.
The $2 million CID provides more than 8,000 square feet of flexible space where students will design, build and problem solve as they engage in multidisciplinary projects. The CID will feature a makerspace studio, professional sound and film studios, a prototyping studio, a computer science studio, an industrial design studio, and a collaboration lab with augmented reality capabilities.
While the makerspace studio will be open in the near future, the rest of the CID will be outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment over the next several weeks and will be fully functional after Thanksgiving.
The CID will serve as an “idea incubator” where students will analyze challenges, deconstruct them, think creatively, tinker, forward new and unconventional ideas, and vet them with their peer in a sort of “Shark Tank” mentality.
“The overarching goal of the Center is to create a hub where all students will collaborate and practice critical thinking and problem-solving skills,” said Headmaster Peter J. Caldwell. “Just as the School’s new Math & Science Center has been a transformational part of campus, I’m excited to see how our students and faculty will make use of this innovative and inspirational space.”
Head of Upper School Darren Burns envisions a center that will be “organic and relevant to the world in which our students live and work. I see their projects as being a way to set themselves apart and get a jump on life beyond MBS. At MBS, students have always been participants in their education; now they can become the architects. As our students have shown, they can produce some incredible work when they take the lead and believe in themselves.”
While other schools in the area have innovation and design spaces, Morristown-Beard School will be one of the only schools with a CID of this size and scope. For the past several years, MBS faculty have been engaged in important academic work to help prepare for the new Center for Innovation & Design — guest speakers, lunch workshops, hosting a critical making summer institute — all to help shift the culture of teaching and learning and to further the understanding of creativity in and out of the classroom.
“Design thinking is a conceptual structure that enables creativity – and that’s what the Center for Innovation & Design is all about,” said Dr. Owen Boynton, Director of the CID. “Design thinking doesn’t radically alter what teachers at Morristown-Beard School are doing; it extends and deepens it. It offers a chance for teachers and students alike to create more meaningfully and thoughtfully.”