BUILDING THE MURRAY INNOVATION CENTER
Welcome to “Construction Corner,” where we update our MPCS family periodically on the exciting progress of the Murray Innovation Center project. MPCS contracted with TVS Architects, UDS Development Services, and Hodges & Hicks General Contractors to complete the project. Over the past year, we have learned about the construction process and celebrated the milestones reached along the way. We are thrilled to announce the building's completion in time for the start of the spring semester 2022!
DEDICATION AND RIBBON-CUTTING CEREMONY
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 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.
Beginning Monday, January 10, the "MIC" is officially open for business, and students will begin attending classes in the building. 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.
DOZIER HALL AND MURRAY ARTS CENTER UPDATES
Renovations to Dozier Hall and the new visual art gallery in the Murray Arts Center are complete. Watch the slideshow above to view images of these spaces from the start of school.
BEAM SIGNING AND TOPPING OUT CEREMONY
On Friday, May 7, MPCS hosted a “Topping Out Ceremony,” a traditional construction celebration whereby crews place the uppermost steel beam during the final phase of framing the interior skeleton of a building. Head of School Dr. Tim Wiens offered a warm welcome to those in attendance and thanked the crews from Hodges & Hicks General Contractors. George Ethridge, MPCS Board Chair, offered a blessing for safety over the remainder of the project. A large crane placed the final steel beam atop the building, accompanied by an American flag and a wooden cross, in lieu of the customary evergreen tree. Lunch was served to the building and construction team in appreciation for the milestones reached.
Before the final steel beam was placed atop the new Murray Innovation Center, the entire MPCS family was invited to a “Beam Signing Day” on Friday, April 30. The 24-foot steel beam was painted white, and graduating seniors, faculty and staff, current students and families, alumni, and donors to the project were invited to sign their names and leave their favorite verse of scripture on the beam. Following the topping out of the building, crews began to construct the exterior skin and roof systems of the Murray Innovation Center to help protect the building from the elements and allow for work on the interior.
MPCS celebrated the culmination of a years-long capital campaign with a “virtual” groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, February 5, for 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 expansion of the current Dozier Hall high school, originally built to house just 250 students. With its booming enrollment, MPCS is thrilled to offer innovative new learning spaces for its 450 high school students.
MPCS families and staff were invited to watch the festivities via a live-stream. After a welcome from Head of School Dr. Tim Wiens and Chair of the Board of Trustees Mr. George Ethridge, Capital Campaign Co-Chair Mr. David Bottoms thanked the 276 donors who contributed $12.4 million to pay for the new building in full, including a $1 million building endowment fund.
Head of High School and Assistant Head of School Mrs. Tawanna Rusk then shared specific features of the new building. The Murray Innovation Center will include additional classroom and lab space, as well as a collegiate-style technology-enhanced classroom, a maker space, a fabrication lab, a state-of-the-art digital lab, and a permanent home for the State-championship-winning Eagle Robotics teams.
Middle school students paraded onto the building site, lining to form the marked perimeter footprint of the Murray Innovation Center building as a visual representation of the innovative space to come. The event was officially commemorated with a countdown as Shelton, the Eagle mascot, released confetti cannons to the enthusiastic applause of those in attendance.
MPCS looks forward to welcoming students into the Murray Innovation Center during the second semester of the 2021-2022 academic year.