Jan 6, 2022

The Murray Innovation Center Unveiled

The Murray Innovation Center Unveiled

 

On Wednesday, January 5, before a small group of guests and school leadership, Mount Paran Christian School officially dedicated and unveiled the new Murray Innovation Center. The building, named after a generous lead gift from the Stuart and Eulene Murray Foundation, is a much-needed 23,000-plus square foot addition to the current Dozier Hall high school, originally built to house just 250 students. With its booming enrollment, MPCS - Cobb county’s largest private Christian school - is thrilled to offer innovative new learning spaces for its 450 high school students.

The dedication comes less than one year after the construction project’s breaking-ground ceremony on February 5, 2021. Despite the challenges of a pandemic, including shipping delays and materials shortages, MPCS has been able to open the building on-time and debt-free. The building’s completion is the culmination of a multi-year capital campaign, whose generous 276 donors contributed $12.9 million to pay for the new building in full, including the inception of the school’s first-ever endowment fund.

The morning’s dedication ceremony included remarks presented by MPCS Head of School Dr. Tim Wiens, MPCS Assistant Head of School and Head of Upper School Tawanna Rusk, Imagine Tomorrow Capital Campaign Co-Chair David Bottoms, and MPCS Chief Development Officer Jennifer New. Dignitaries in attendance included Cobb Chamber of Commerce CEO Sharon Mason and former Head of School Dr. David Tilley.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony included a spark of student innovation: one of the high school Eagle Robotics robots was programmed with special coding by MPCS senior S. Baker to officially deliver the ceremonial scissors to Joe McDonald and Kelly Rowland, Murray Foundation, for the event. The two-time State-championship winning Eagle Robotics program has consistently been involved with the Murray Innovation Center project. During the launch of the public phase of the capital campaign, a student-directed robot participated in the unveiling of the building’s design plans. Now, the MIC offers a dedicated robotics field within the new maker space room.

Following the dedication and ribbon-cutting, attendees were invited to tour the building, which includes a digital design lab and a fabrication lab, a collegiate-style technology-enhanced classroom, two new science labs, high school administrative offices and additional classroom and gathering spaces. 

Notably, the Murray Innovation Center now offers a permanent storefront for the Roost Coffee Co., a cafe run entirely by the MPCS high school entrepreneurship classes. The class and cafe is a result of student fireside chat “dreaming” sessions during the MIC building’s planning phase. Zachary Fors ‘21 and fellow classmates drafted a business plan, borrowed funds from the high school administration, and launched the coffee shop in the fall of 2019. The permanent home for the Roost is now housed in the Graham Commons, supported by a gift from the Graham Family Foundation. Because of this student-led venture, MPCS has since added and refined course programming in personal finance, business management, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

Mount Paran Christian School is thankful to all who have supported the Murray Innovation Center through the generous sharing of ideas, gifts, and prayers. It is our hope and prayer that the new space will be used to glorify Christ in the decades to come.

 

About the Spaces within the Murray Innovation Center

The Graham Commons is an open space for students to connect in a community setting. The multi-use space will be available for classes, meetings, and events, with lounge and study areas. The Graham Commons takes full advantage of natural light and views of Lake McDonald on campus, with an architectural cross focal feature on the main window. The Graham Commons also provides indoor/outdoor cafe seating for the Roost.

The Roost Coffee Co. is home to the student-run MPCS coffee company, in partnership with MPCS alumni-owned Apotheos Roastery in Kennesaw. “Brewed with a Purpose,” the Roost offers a refrigeration counter for food display, Bunn brewer, kitchen prep, and point of sale counter with separate pickup area. The new space fully equips the high school entrepreneurship classes with tools designed for business instruction. 

Students were heavily involved in the design process and were passionate about bringing attention to God’s creation and the school’s picturesque campus, as well as including spaces for building community. An outdoor quad achieves both goals with a built-in hardscape amphitheater seating for classes and events. The collegiate-style quad also offers convenient proximity to the Graham Commons, the Roost, and Dozier Hall. 

The digital lab is designed as a space to inspire students through collaborative instruction and creation of innovative ideas to be explored in the maker space and fabrication lab. The state-of-the-art room is outfitted with dual monitor design stations for CAD and CAM design work for engineering, business, and computer science courses.

The maker space is a STEAM classroom for tinkering and exploring the mechanics of ideas generated in the digital lab. Equipment allows for low-dust prototyping with electronics/soldering workstations, 3D printers, a laser cutter/engraver, and a desktop CNC milling machine, in addition to the dedicated area for the Eagle Robotics field.

The fabrication lab provides the space for the final step in the engineering design process, where students finalize the construction of ideas. This room includes equipment and materials necessary to build a final product, such as a CNC router for computer-controlled wood cutting and carving and an array of additional power tools for manufacturing work in wood, foam, plastic, and metal with dedicated dust collection.

The new science labs offer improved layouts for student experiences in every STEAM discipline; a lab prep room for safe and necessary storage for chemicals, lab materials and glassware; fume hoods for the safe ventilation of chemicals; flexible furniture for the easy transition from classroom to lab space; and blackout shades for optics experiments (lenses, mirrors, spectra, lasers).

The T.E.A.L. classroom (“Technology Enhanced Active Learning”) is modeled in the collegiate style with five A/V screens and collaborative group tables/seating. Additional new classroom spaces are designed to accommodate any discipline with flexible seating and arrangement.

A seminar room provides a quiet space for student study, prayer, and discipleship, and is home to the Paige Johnson Devotional Library, named in honor of MPCS Cheer Coach Paige Johnson who has brought home 10 consecutive State Championships. Study nooks and lounges abound throughout the new space, including a laptop bar with device charging stations. A glass bridge connects the Murray Innovation Center with Dozier Hall, the pre-existing high school building. 


Announcements

October 4-13 - Fall Food Drive

To benefit MUST Ministries

October 4-13 - Fall Food Drive

To benefit MUST Ministries

October 6 - ParentEd. P.E.P. Talk for Lower School, 6:30 p.m.

October 7 - Moms in Prayer, 8:00 a.m.

October 7 - PK3 Community Helper Parade

October 7 - Blue & Black Bash Pre-game Tailgate, "Superheroes"

Jr. Eagles Spirit Night for Preschool/TK

October 7 - Blue & Black Bash Pre-game Tailgate, "Superheroes"

Jr. Eagles Spirit Night for Preschool/TK

October 10-14 - Homecoming Spirit Week

October 10-20 - Preschool/TK Donuts with Dads

October 13 - Lower School Parent Learning Walk, 8:00 a.m.

For current MPCS families; please pre-register

October 13 - Lower School Parent Learning Walk, 8:00 a.m.

For current MPCS families; please pre-register

October 14 - Moms in Prayer, 8:00 a.m.

October 14 - Blue & Black Bash Pre-game Tailgate, "Black-Out"

Homecoming and Alumni Dinner

October 14 - Blue & Black Bash Pre-game Tailgate, "Black-Out"

Homecoming and Alumni Dinner

October 15 - High School Homecoming Dance, 8:00 p.m.

October 18 - Lower School Parent Zoom Meeting, 7:00 p.m.

October 19 - Lower School ParentEd. Executive Functioning, 9:00 a.m.

Murray Arts Center, Artist Reception Room

October 19 - Lower School ParentEd. Executive Functioning, 9:00 a.m.

Murray Arts Center, Artist Reception Room

October 20 - Men of Mount Paran, 7:00 a.m.

October 20-22 - "The Diviners" High School Drama

October 21 - Moms in Prayer, 8:00 a.m.

October 21 - PTF Mother-Son Picnic, 5:30 p.m.

October 22 - Serve Saturday

October 24 - Kindergarten 50th Day of School

October 25 - PSAT for Juniors

October 26 - Upper School ParentEd. Executive Functioning, 6:00 p.m.

Murray Arts Center, Choral Rehearsal Room

October 26 - Upper School ParentEd. Executive Functioning, 6:00 p.m.

Murray Arts Center, Choral Rehearsal Room

October 27 - Prism Concert, 7:00 p.m., Grades 8-12

October 28 - Moms in Prayer, 8:00 a.m.

October 28 - PK STEAM Day

For prospective families

October 28 - PK STEAM Day

For prospective families

October 31 - Teacher Professional Development Day/Student Holiday

NO SCHOOL for Students

October 31 - Teacher Professional Development Day/Student Holiday

NO SCHOOL for Students

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