I am writing today with news that is certain to make a big splash. Yesterday the Board of Trustees and I agreed to move forward with a brand new 6 million Dollar STEAM facility. What is STEAM, you ask? Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics! We hope the building will be open for classes NEXT YEAR! It will serve students from all levels in its science labs, computer classes, robotics facilities, maker space, 2-D art, band rooms, choir, and more. The third and fourth floor will house 30 boarding students and three faculty apartments. There will be a three-story glass box, two stories of which will be the middle and upper school commons area. There will be a beautiful 4th-floor observation deck offering the best views of the Mississippi River in Bettendorf!
Your children – our students – are remarkably intelligent and hard working. Our facilities are simply not up to the task of supporting such eager and tenacious students. The basement science labs, in the Mansion’s old bowling alley and gym, are as uninspiring as they are outdated. Our computer lab is operating on machines so outdated they cannot run the Adobe Suite. One of our servers, which was housed in a Mansion closet, caught fire the year before I arrived (and had it relocated). The fact that our students are winning local, state, and national science awards is a testimony to the power of great teaching, high expectations, supportive families, and hard-working kids. It’s time to build the facilities our students deserve. It’s time to take Rivermont to the next level.
There will be some inconvenience involved with our accelerated construction schedule. In a couple of weeks, you’ll see the back driveway, which we have used as an exit, blocked off for parents and students. It will become the access road for construction vehicles. There will be safety fence placed from the end of the sidewalk at the lower Becherer Hall pickup spot, to the Wallace house. That way, early school pickup and drop off can continue with minimal disruption. The lower parking lot will still be used. The biggest change is that there will be two-way traffic on the entrance road. On a more positive note, however, we are currently evaluating the possibility of a blacktop area near the playground which will provide a safe place for recess during the winter months.
You may ask, is this project taking away from budgets and resources my child has benefited from currently or in the past? No. The funding is being arranged with investors and we have already made tremendous progress on our capital campaign to pay for this project. In fact, we have been able to purchase new (expensive) curriculum, for several areas in the school. We have improved the early school playground and given teachers a modest raise for the first time in many years. We hired a full-time chef to improve our menu, and better align our staffing with enrollment needs. We are carefully stewarding the school’s resources and doing everything in our power to give your child an excellent experience; and you, an excellent value.