Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
M/sunny
39°
M/sunny
Hi 62° | Lo 28°

Amherst Montessori School opens new $2.6 million building

  • Meriel Sims, left, 4, and Nathan Manly, 3, enjoy a snack while classmates Connor Murray, background left and Chloe Carlisle, right, both 3 1/2, continue playing in one of three preschool rooms at the new Amherst Montessori School building on Pomeroy Lane in Amherst.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Meriel Sims, left, 4, and Nathan Manly, 3, enjoy a snack while classmates Connor Murray, background left and Chloe Carlisle, right, both 3 1/2, continue playing in one of three preschool rooms at the new Amherst Montessori School building on Pomeroy Lane in Amherst.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Amherst Montessori School interim head of school Alex Gillat, left, and lower elementary assistant Kathleen Terry, right, greet Hao-Hao Sun, 6, and others upon their arrival to the new school building on a recent Friday.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Amherst Montessori School interim head of school Alex Gillat, left, and lower elementary assistant Kathleen Terry, right, greet Hao-Hao Sun, 6, and others upon their arrival to the new school building on a recent Friday.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Amherst Montessori School students Timothy Foley, 7, Claire Ross, 6, and Emily Jodka, right, 9, study together at a table in the lower elementary class of the new  building. Through the windows at left is a combined science and art room shared with the upper elementary class.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Amherst Montessori School students Timothy Foley, 7, Claire Ross, 6, and Emily Jodka, right, 9, study together at a table in the lower elementary class of the new building. Through the windows at left is a combined science and art room shared with the upper elementary class.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Amherst Montessori School guide Anya Akaogi, background right, helps students in the lower elementary class with their self-directed studies in the new building on Pomeroy Lane in Amherst. Seated at table, from left, are Timothy Foley, 7, Claire Ross, 6, and Emily Jodka, 9. In background are, from left, Hao-Hao Sun, 6, Liam Brown, 9, and Daighan LeBlanc, 6.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Amherst Montessori School guide Anya Akaogi, background right, helps students in the lower elementary class with their self-directed studies in the new building on Pomeroy Lane in Amherst. Seated at table, from left, are Timothy Foley, 7, Claire Ross, 6, and Emily Jodka, 9. In background are, from left, Hao-Hao Sun, 6, Liam Brown, 9, and Daighan LeBlanc, 6.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Amherst Montessori School assistant Kathleen Terry, right, helps students in their self-directed studies in the lower elementary classroom of the new building on Pomeroy Lane in Amherst.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Amherst Montessori School assistant Kathleen Terry, right, helps students in their self-directed studies in the lower elementary classroom of the new building on Pomeroy Lane in Amherst.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Staff await the arrival of students to the new Amherst Montessori School building on Pomeroy Lane in Amherst on Friday, April 5.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Staff await the arrival of students to the new Amherst Montessori School building on Pomeroy Lane in Amherst on Friday, April 5.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Meriel Sims, left, 4, and Nathan Manly, 3, enjoy a snack while classmates Connor Murray, background left and Chloe Carlisle, right, both 3 1/2, continue playing in one of three preschool rooms at the new Amherst Montessori School building on Pomeroy Lane in Amherst.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Amherst Montessori School interim head of school Alex Gillat, left, and lower elementary assistant Kathleen Terry, right, greet Hao-Hao Sun, 6, and others upon their arrival to the new school building on a recent Friday.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Amherst Montessori School students Timothy Foley, 7, Claire Ross, 6, and Emily Jodka, right, 9, study together at a table in the lower elementary class of the new  building. Through the windows at left is a combined science and art room shared with the upper elementary class.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Amherst Montessori School guide Anya Akaogi, background right, helps students in the lower elementary class with their self-directed studies in the new building on Pomeroy Lane in Amherst. Seated at table, from left, are Timothy Foley, 7, Claire Ross, 6, and Emily Jodka, 9. In background are, from left, Hao-Hao Sun, 6, Liam Brown, 9, and Daighan LeBlanc, 6.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Amherst Montessori School assistant Kathleen Terry, right, helps students in their self-directed studies in the lower elementary classroom of the new building on Pomeroy Lane in Amherst.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Staff await the arrival of students to the new Amherst Montessori School building on Pomeroy Lane in Amherst on Friday, April 5.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

The new $2.6 million building sits on the site of the school’s old two-room building at 27 Pomeroy Lane, which was torn down last July.

The new structure expands the school’s existing space by providing three new classrooms, an art studio and a large multipurpose room. It will make it possible for the school to provide additional services, such as a Spanish immersion classroom program called Casa de Nino, according to Laura Miller, the school’s director of admissions and advancement.

Funding for the project came from a combination of financing from Greenfield Savings Bank, donations from the community and an ongoing $650,000 capital campaign, Miller said.

Construction of the new building, which was designed by Kuhn-Riddle Architects of Amherst, was completed at the end of February, and students and staff began classes there Feb. 26.

The school will host an open house April 26 from 4 to 6 p.m., which will include a dedication ceremony at 5 p.m.

Founded in 1970, the Amherst Montessori School, a private school that offers self-directed education for children 18 months to 12-years old, operated out of church basements in Amherst until the original schoolhouse was built in 1985, Miller said. The school outgrew the smaller building a decade later and began using satellite campuses again.

In 2003, the school moved the classes from its satellite locations to a small business park at 7 Pomeroy Lane. All of the school’s classes were conducted there during the construction of the new schoolhouse, which began last September.

Alex Gillat, Amherst Montessori’s interim head of school, said the new building offers logistical advantages by consolidating everything to one campus.

Previously, he said, students had to use a “rope train” to move between the business park and the old schoolhouse to use the playground. Now, the playground is connected directly to the school building.

“It was a necessity, having two buildings and trying to combine activities,” Gillat said. “So, having one building now has definitely benefited us.”

“This is the first time in 42 years that we’ve had a school that went from toddler to elementary all on one campus,” Miller said. “It offers one central location for all of our families to be able to come together and really build community. When you’re fragmented like that, you don’t have a sense of a cohesive Montessori community.”

According to Miller, the Amherst Montessori School has 87 students enrolled. She said the school expects to see that number rise to around 125 students over the next few years.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.