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. 


July 12 - Lower School New Family Meeting, 7:00 p.m.

July 14 - Lower School New Family Game Night, 6:30 p.m.

July 26-27 - High School Parking Assignments

July 30 - Senior Spots Painting Day

August 1 - New Student Orientation, Grades 10-12

August 5 - K-Day, Lower School 101, Middle School 101, High School 101

August 8 - Preschool Meet and Greet, 1:00 p.m.

August 9 - Back-2-School Night, 3:30-6:30 p.m.

August 11 - First Day of School, 7:50 a.m.

August 12 - High School Social, 6:00 p.m.

August 15: Preschool and Lower School Parent Orientation, 5:30 p.m.

August 16-17 - Picture Day

August 18 - Middle School Parent Orientation, 6:00 p.m.

August 19 - Middle School Spiritual Emphasis House Day

August 22-23 - Lower School CoGAT Testing

August 29-September 1 - MAP Growth Testing

Lower and Middle School Students

August 29-September 1 - MAP Growth Testing

Lower and Middle School Students

August 29 - Ask the Experts, 6:00 p.m.

Visit with college representatives

August 29 - Ask the Experts, 6:00 p.m.

Visit with college representatives

August 30 - Picture Make-up Day

September 5 - Labor Day Holiday, No School

September 6/7-9 - Labor Day Holiday, No School

September 22-23 - Parent-Teacher Conference Days, Grades PK-8

Students in grades PK-8 do not attend classes. High school students DO attend classes.

September 22-23 - Parent-Teacher Conference Days, Grades PK-8

Students in grades PK-8 do not attend classes. High school students DO attend classes.

September 26-27 - Fall Break, No School

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