“I have noticed how my mobility has changed and challenges over time have limited my access to important spaces and events — including visiting my grandchildren’s schools at Grandparent’s Day, or plays, and other events in buildings not modified for all abilities,” David shared. “It is important to me that the school’s campus and spaces be welcoming and accessible to all members of our community, including students, faculty/staff, alumni/ae, parents, grandparents, or visitors.”
TRANSFORMING THE HEART OF CAMPUS
Back in 1931, when The Cambridge School of Weston (formerly known as The Cambridge-Haskell School) first opened its doors at its current location in Weston, MA, students attended many of their classes in the building now known as the Kluchman Administration Building. Today, the building houses the College Counseling Offices, the Head’s Office, math classrooms, and the school library. With entrances on the quad and along Georgian Road, the building has for many years served as the main lobby for the school, where guests are able to check in and orient themselves in preparation for their visit.
But for a school that prides itself on promoting social justice, equity, and inclusion, this important space has been lacking in a critical area: accessibility. With steps at both entrances, a hidden reception desk tucked away to the side, and no bathroom on the main floor, the space was no longer fulfilling its purpose to welcome guests and set the tone for their visits. Meanwhile, with increased interest in the school, the CSW's Admissions Office was finding it difficult to accommodate prospective students and their families in the adjacent admissions building.
Recognizing these needs, Head of School Lise Charlier, in partnership with the Board of Trustees, worked on a proposal to renovate the first floor of the Kluchman, making it more accessible, welcoming, and emblematic of CSW’s core values, while also providing additional reception space for prospective students and families.
"...As a school that prides itself on being inclusive and socially aware, [accessibility] is a big place CSW is lacking…” says alumnus Parker Stern ’20. “I was impressed to see all the projects that are being discussed at CSW to make changes.”
This project will be the cornerstone of a larger, multi-year, multi-phase plan to make CSW’s campus more accessible, examining existing spaces and structures and revitalizing them in ways more in step with the culture and goals of the school of today.
LEADING THE WAY
Alumnus and past trustee David Mugar '59 has started this important project off with a lead challenge gift of $250,000 if the school can secure the additional $250,000, by June 30, 2021. Former heads of school Al Adams, George Cohan, and Jane Moulding have already supported the project, along with current head of school, Lise Charlier, with great gratitude to David for getting us started. The Board of Trustees and Parents of the Class of 2021, along with many others, are coming together to raise the additional $250,000 to fully fund this work.
With construction commencing in June, we expect the project to reach completion by the fall so that school visitors may be welcomed in a vibrant, accessible lobby designed to showcase the work of our students.