With a snip of the scissors and a roar of appreciative cheers, one of Foxcroft School’s iconic buildings, Court, was rededicated Thursday (Sept. 30) at a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Head of School Catherine S. McGehee and Chair of the Board of Trustees Anne Michele Lyons Kuhns.
Court, which served as a dormitory from the 1930s until 2013, has been renovated and repurposed as a spacious welcome center that houses the external arm of administrative offices — Admission, Advancement, Marketing and Communication and Business. It also features spaces used daily by students and other members of the community, such as the school store, campus post office, an outdoor terrace, and a large seminar room with state-of-the-art technology.
Due to the weather, Thursday’s ceremony was moved indoors, limiting attendance, but the many students, faculty, administrators, past and present trustees, and donors present were undaunted. After being welcomed by Student Head of School Chloe Xu ’17, they heard from Kuhns, McGehee, and Mercedes Rudkin Gotwald, a 1972 graduate and current board member who spoke about Court’s history, including the years her daughters, Sophie ’10 and Olivia ’12 lived in Court. The Rev Robert L Banse Jr. of Trinity Episcopal Churs in Upperville, who had given the invocation, then blessed the building.
McGehee, Gotwald, and Kuhns then crowded into Court’s small foyer with former Head of School Mary Louise Leipheimer, under whose tenure the project was launched; capital campaign co-chair and former trustee Ellen McNeille Charles ’55; and current trustee Victoria B. Mars, to cut a green ribbon held across the threshold by Xu and Student Vice Head of School Elle Lassiter.
The renovation of Court is part of a multi-building, multi-year Residential Initiative that has included the construction of Foxcroft’s first green building, Stuart Hall, and major renovations to the other four dormitories, including faculty apartments associated with them.
While second levels were added to two wings of the building and the inside was almost completely gutted to create an open office environment, the $8 million renovation of the 80-year-old building did not change the footprint or the external look, feel, and charm of the beloved edifice.
“The result,” said Board member and trustee Mercedes Rudkin Gotwald ‘72. “is this beautiful building which from the outside looks like the Court we have all known and loved but on the inside, represents the latest thought in collaboration, technology and workplace environments.”
McGehee pointed out that during the construction, the building became a learning laboratory as 23 students participated in Project Rebuild, a monthly seminar in which they learned about and gained hands-on experience in several STEM fields. The program was overseen by Foxcroft Business Manager Deborah Anderson and led by architects, engineers, and builders working on the building.
Now that construction is complete, McGehee says, the adults working in Court are learning from it. “By bringing together four different departments, once siloed in three different buildings,” she said at the rededication.“Foxcroft’s administrative team is able to take advantage of 21st century strategies such as for collaboration, flexible working teams interdepartmental creativity, problem-solving, and communications. . .”
Foxcroft’s philosophy is ‘everything we do is curriculum,’ and while out primary goal is to educate young women, ” she added. ”I believe this building will continue to inspire adults working in it to be lifelong learners and positive role models for our students.”