Stockbridge – In a June 10 ceremony before an enthusiastic gathering of students, faculty and parents, Berkshire Country Day School broke ground for a $1.5 million Kim and James Taylor Music and Performance Rooms and the Kevin Hirt Library and Learning Commons.
The project, that will transform a wing of the school’s Furey Hall into a state-of-the-art library and performance facility, will be completed in the spring of next year. The new facilities are one component of a $3 million capital campaign that will also build the school’s endowment to support faculty salaries. The campaign has nearly fulfilled its goal, with contributions from more than 300 donors.
The groundbreaking took place after the traditional assembly in the Fitzpatrick gymnasium to mark the end of the school year. Head of School Paul Lindenmaier commended the graduating class of ninth graders, honored faculty members and then rang the bell to mark the end of school.
Lindenmaier then led the assembly to the lawn facing Furey Hall to witness the ceremonial beginning of the creation of a facility that will integrate the visual and performing arts into the humanities.
The Kevin Hirt Learning Commons and Kevin Hirt Library is named after a BCD fifth grader Kevin Hirt ’06, who suffered from neuroblastoma, an aggressive pediatric cancer. While he was at BCD, his favorite class was library, and when he realized that he would not survive, he asked his parents, Paul Hirt and Lynn Campana, to donate his college fund to BCD for the expansion of the library.
“Today,” Lindenmaier told the students, parents and faculty gathered on the lawn, “we begin to fulfilling our promise to Kevin and to his parents and family. When you return in September, the building behind us will be abuzz with construction and we’ll enjoy the opportunity to watch the project being built.”
Of the library and the performing arts complex Lindenmaier has pointed out that ‘these performing arts spaces are going to be our way of connecting to the community. They will be able to accommodate audiences of up to 100 people, and this will be our partnership with the community and become a signature facility of our campus.”
The Taylors, whose twin boys attended BCD, have been enthusiastic supporters of the school and served as the capital campaign’s honorary co-chairs.
The library, designed by Flansburgh Architects of Boston and to be built by Allegrone Construction of Pittsfield, will be a learning “hub,” Lindenmaier explained, “that will focus student learning on collaboration. This will spark a different kind of education and become perhaps a model for other institutions.”
Campaign co-chair and BCD parent Hilary Dunne Ferrone introduced Kevin Hirt’s parents, and Kim Taylor, who would wield the shovels that would formally break ground the library and music wing of Furey Hall.
She noted that “today marks the beginning of a new chapter but it’s part of a continuum of good work done by people throughout our school’s 70 years because they believed in what this school does and the kind of citizens it produces.”