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St. Helena Montessori School construction

Looking northeast on the 880 College Campus of the St. Helena Montessori School, the new buildings are visible with the barn and farm in the background.

St. Helena Montessori continues to move forward with construction of its final classroom facilities, as the first walls were put in place in February. These facilities will provide the school with permanent classrooms for both the Toddler and Adolescent Programs, which serve the youngest and oldest members of the student body, those from 18 months to 3 years of age and the 12 to 14-year-old students.

In addition to classrooms, the current construction will give the school community the following: An expanded commercial kitchen, a Great Room for school and community gatherings, a parent workroom, a library, a dedicated science room and a music room. Two courtyards will be formed by the buildings, which are designed to match the existing architecture on the property, an agriculturally-inspired vernacular with board and batten construction.

MH Architects, led by Principal Matt Hollis and Project Architect Kelly Heath, have worked with school staff to offer a design that is aligned with the educational philosophy. Eames Construction, led by Ryan Eames, and Peter Schmidt on-site, continues to act as General Contractor for this phase of the campus project.

Alexander Heil, adolescent program director, shared his excitement to permanently settle in after being in temporary facilities for the last seven years; and having commuted from Spring Street to 880 College Ave. before that. He added, “The school community and beyond has supported this program from its inception, and this new facility fulfills a shared vision of an ideally suited and custom-built space to meet the needs of adolescents. Our farm is an ideal setting for our students to be given opportunities to practice adult-like work in a protected environment so they can be started on the road to economic independence. We work to provide them an education that corresponds to the entire person and allows for optimal development.”

These new buildings will offer our current and upcoming middle schoolers beautiful facilities to build on the values and culture established under the guidance of Alex and Jennifer Heil over the past decade; and give our toddler program the space it needs to serve these young ones in an ideal way. These programs are fitting entry points for families interested in beginning Montessori education or continuing with the philosophy up to high school.

St. Helena Montessori was founded in 1981 and is a 501(c)(3) public-benefit corporation. For more information, please contact Ted Stonbely at (707) 963-1527 or visit shmontessori.org.

Editor’s Note: Ted Stonbely is admissions director for St. Helena Montessori School.

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