STREAM Building Grand Opening

In the summer of 2014, members of the SAAS Rising team donned hard hats to climb down into the STREAM construction site and  share community members Dreams for STREAM in the basement foundation being poured.

This past Sunday, the building celebrated its Grand Opening, and more than 500 visitors made that same journey—albeit via stairs or elevator— to the basement which now houses a state-of-the art robotics lab and a cistern that has already collected approximately 56 inches of rainwater!

In true community style, Sunday’s three-hour open house let visitors explore STREAM from top-to-bottom with student guides, interactive science demonstrations and a fantastic spread by the SAAS Lunch Program culinary staff.

In the basement, the SAAS robotics program has been settling in for about 3 weeks, and has already stepped things up with plenty of wall space to set up a more physical vs online SCRUM workflow, a permanent home for prototyping and testing, and a beautiful array of tools right where they need them.

We’re thrilled with the new space,” said Robotics Coach Gabe Cronin. “Trying out Robotics has helped a lot of students explore new ways to be creative, and has helped many of them think about emerging career choices for the future. Having a real home for robotics is fantastic.

On the way up to the science labs, visitors had an opportunity to check out the now legendary Head of Aslan from the 2014 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe SAAS theatre production, which was a very fruitful collaboration between robotics, art and theater.  As part of the STREAM Building design process, students in sustainability met with Miller Hull Architects and GLY Construction for “visioning workshops” to help establish STREAM’s goals—including passive cooling, natural light and ventilation, rainwater collection, and a flexible learning commons.

Up in the science labs students demonstrated interactive projects, from an independent study of bug antennae to several slime mold experiments and the multi-disciplinary 10th Grade Soap project, in which students study the chemical properties of soaps, select and investigate a target market, formulate a soap, and design branding and packaging for their final product.

In one top floor lab, a bowling-ball obstacle course demonstrated inertia, while other labs explored PH measurement, advanced chemistry, heat conduction and more. In the “Science Snacks Exploratorium” lab, students set up a variety of experiments intended to let the visitor make his or her own path through the learning experience, emphasizing the importance of curiosity and play.

The backdrops for all these projects were fantastic views from the lab windows, which afford students the opportunity to reflect on the real-world implications of what they’re learning—not to mention studies show that an inspiring view encourages thinkers to step back and find big-picture connections between disparate subjects.

The STREAM Building has come a long way—and grown a great height—since its foundation was laid thirteen months ago. Seeing the way students are already itching to get their hands dirty and invent and explore, we can only imagine what’s to come.

2015 STREAM Grand Opening Photos

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