Nearly 10 months after Head of School John Packard broke ground on the construction of Brooks School's new $28 million Center for the Arts, the building has taken shape and significant progress has been made to the exterior. Trustees' recently took a tour inside and came out impressed with what's been done and excited for what's to come.
"The tour affirmed for me its impact as a game changing moment at the school," said trustee Hale Everets '93, an architect and development manager at Two Trees Management. "More than ever, the arts at Brooks will prominently engage the community in singular dynamic place that fosters creativity, collaboration and expression."
Indeed, the goal of the facility is to bond the visual, musical and performing arts together in the center of campus, and that's exactly what Everets said he can see it will do. "This is a great building that will have immediate and positive impact for the school," he said, commending all involved in creating it. "I was struck [during the visit] with a sense of pride and appreciation for all of those who worked tirelessly to make the building a reality — from cementing an ambitious goal, to orchestrating a fantastic design and funding this exceptional project."
Consigli Construction Assistant Project Manager Joe Napolitano '09 (in photo above) is one of those people. Napolitano has been working on the Center for the Arts from the beginning and reports that progress is coming along impressively.
In addition to interior work now that includes wall framing and ceiling construction, two major milestones are on the horizon: getting the roof weather tight and completing the mechanical, electrical and plumbing in-wall inspections with the town of North Andover that will allow workers to begin putting up sheetrock for the walls.
"At this stage of construction, it's interesting to see the building beginning to take shape," said Napolitano. "As the layout progresses, rooms start to become more defined and you start to see the beginnings of the finished spaces and what the end goal will become."
Patrick Curley '69, Fletcher Thompson Architecture Engineering Principal of Colleges and Universities, joined the recent Center for the Arts tour and said that he can already envision the building in use. "The so-called Main Street is actually the size of, and feels like, a street," he marveled. "The studios are more light-filled than I had imagined, and the theater has more capacity and yet feels more intimate than the old auditorium space."
What Curley saw through was equally impressive. "The framed view of the Chapel from the theater space will be an instant classic!" he added.
The entire Brooks community will be able to see the building for themselves as soon as it's completed, of course, by the end of this year. And Curley, for one, cannot wait.
"This all seems like a wonderful magic trick," he said of the project. "But the reality is we had a great process ... supported by a clarity of mission and vision about the need and the role of the Center for the Arts. And the next exciting transformation will be seeing the spaces full of students and teachers next fall as the building becomes an active member of the Brooks community!"