Realigning campus spaces allows us to first focus on our student's developmental stages while maintaining our emphasis on academic excellence. We will continue to adhere to a single set of high standards for learning and desired student outcomes. Under the new model, the current Albany Academy for Girls building will house our Lower School, and Middle School and the current Albany Academy building will house the Upper School.
This is a natural extension of the schools’ evolution over the last several decades and, most importantly, positions our students and school for long-term success.
As we diligently work to best serve our students and prepare them for their futures, we firmly believe that learning from highly skilled and collaborative faculty in spaces that best support their learning is essential. Having relocated Lower School boys to our Lower and Middle School campus in September 2023, we have witnessed genuine faculty collaboration that enriches our students' experience.
Our mission at The Albany Academies is to "coordinate single-sex and coeducational learning environments to develop diligent students of high character who become curious, critical thinkers." We are guided by our commitment and responsibility to fulfill this mission and believe that students learn best when faculty work collaboratively to meet every student's needs. To this end, there is great power in locating teachers on the same campus that best meet students' developmental needs while interacting and inspiring each other to provide an exceptionally holistic learning experience that is developmentally appropriate for all students. Beyond their classroom teachers or advisors, students interact with all kinds of specialists and specialty teachers who supplement and enhance their learning journey.
Several capital projects are planned over the multi-year implementation of this new model.
Phase 1: Security enhancements on our Lower and Middle School campus, and update instructional technology on both campuses.
Phase 2: New physical education locker rooms for boys and girls in the Michael B. Picotte Field House on our Upper School campus, additional parking on both campuses, and renovations to the Lower and Middle School campus including increasing the size of Middle School classrooms.
Phase 3: Additional facilities for a new Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Innovation Center in a reconfigured space on our Upper School campus. Upgraded science rooms on the Upper School campus.
While considering ways to welcome students to the Lower and Middle School campus and Upper School campus, we have been thinking intentionally about ensuring our students feel a sense of our full school community while honoring the notable histories of both Albany Academy for Girls and The Albany Academy. Our goal of course would be to design spaces on both campuses that are welcoming while appreciating our past.
As we continue striving for excellence in education, it is critical to learn from our experiences to better prepare for the future. Thus far in our realignment, we have learned that utilizing space by developmental appropriateness has enhanced teaching and learning and fostered collaboration with Lower School faculty. We've also learned the magnitude of executing this plan as resources, traditions, processes, and procedures need thoughtful consideration and flexibility. Another lesson learned is that The Academies has had many times in its history that required important considerations to preserve the School for future generations.
Our commitment to important elements and the timeline of the Realignment Plan by campus are unchanged. Since the start of our Realignment Plan, operational costs to the School have increased requiring more philanthropic dollars needed to resource facility upgrades. This means that students will continue accessing both campuses until support has been secured for design and construction to be completed. Our campus goals are to ensure that our facilities meet the needs of our students in an ever-changing world that keeps our history as the most rigorous independent school in the Capital Region alive and well.
There are many ways to be supportive of our Realignment Plan regardless of whether you are a student, parent, alumna, alumnus, parent of alumnae, parent of alumni, or friend of the school. The most critical support is understanding the Realignment Plan and how important it is to provide the best educational experience to our students. Over the next several years, we will continue providing updates as progress is made and encourage you to be supportive of our plan as we work to educate the very best while preserving the School for centuries to come.
Happy New Year! I hope the holiday season brought you joy and quality time with loved ones.
As we step into 2024, I’m thrilled to share an update on our progress in reorganizing our campus spaces, a journey we embarked upon last year. (To learn more, please visit Campus Realignment December 2022).
In June 2023, we completed a comprehensive facilities audit and developed a long-range master facilities plan. This planning helped us understand our current infrastructure needs and envision future enhancements to and preservation of our historic campus.