The ‘Heartbeat’ of the Upper School Is Getting a Facelift

Randolph Hall renovation will include spaces named in honor of former head of school David Lourie and Tess Majors ’19

St. Anne’s-Belfield School is excited to announce that the Randolph Hall auditorium and orchestra room on the Greenway Rise Campus will be renovated into a student-centric community convening space beginning this summer. The learning center will be named for former head of school David Lourie, P. ’18 & ’21, and the renovation will include innovative spaces that will transform learning, including a music and video recording studio to be named in honor of Tess Majors ’19. 

Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2022 with the opening expected fall 2023.

Concept drawing of Randolph Hall renovation project

Concept drawing. View a slideshow with more images at the bottom of this article.

A Vision for a Vibrant, Vital, Dynamic and Joyous Learning Space

Building upon a vision to deepen community engagement, broaden experiential and co-curricular learning offerings, and sustain programmatic excellence, the Board of Trustees approved the current iteration of this ambitious project to renovate Randolph Hall Auditorium. 

The space will be transformed into a hub of connectivity and creativity as our students make positive change in our world. I wish to thank all those involved in the process and the generous donors who have helped to make it happen. — Head of School Autumn A. Graves

The space that currently houses Randolph Auditorium has always served a multi-purpose convening function for the School. From 1939 – 1985, Randolph Hall was used for just about everything — as the gymnasium, a place for performances and ceremonies, even Chapel was held in the basement level. In the 1980s, a stage and proscenium were added to allow for enhanced theater productions. The current configuration, created in the early 2000s, served as the main Upper School auditorium until Grisham Hall was introduced in 2016. Currently, the underutilized space serves as classroom overflow and as an annex auditorium.  

“Randolph Hall has been the heartbeat of our school for decades,” says Head of School Autumn A. Graves. “Now emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, these renovations will foster the vibrant, vital, dynamic and joyous learning for which we strive. The space will be transformed into a hub of connectivity and creativity as our students make positive change in our world. I wish to thank all those involved in the process and the generous donors who have helped to make it happen.”

Planning for this renovation began six years ago as part of the School’s 2017-2022 Strategic Plan with a vision for a new learning center. In partnership with Bowie Gridley Architects, Dr. Graves and Head of the Upper School Beth Miller led an inclusive planning process, involving numerous teachers and staff, to update the plan based on current needs in 2021. 

Phase 1 is expected to break ground this summer, with a hopeful plan to open the new space for learning in the fall of 2023. Generous donors have led the way to support significant initial construction on the project. English Construction is leading the building process.  

Highlights of the new space include:

  • Learning center, to be named in honor of former head of school David Lourie, P. ’18 & ’21

  • Music and video recording studio, to be named in honor of Tess Majors ’19

  • High tech makerspace and food lab

  • Learning areas for classrooms and small groups outfitted with modern technologies

  • Areas for quiet reflection, reading, and study, with our library collection and books/periodicals accessible to students.

  • Open spaces with movable furniture that allow for meetings, lectures, and workshops

“Everyday we feel the energy of our Upper School come to life through the connection between our amazing students and teachers,” says Head of the Upper School Beth Miller. “I know that this project will further elevate that experience and further the kind of innovative teaching and learning that David Lourie ushered in during his tenure. I can’t wait to walk by as students are drumming, videoing, and performing their favorite songs, just as Tess did so beautifully at our Chapels and open mic nights.”

With these new spaces, we can imagine …

Lawyers connecting to the 21st Century Citizenship Senior Seminar from the floor of the South African House of Parliament through a world-class, high tech meeting room;

Freshman learning to engineer their own music, building up to releasing their own EPs by senior year;

Foremost authors conducting readings with our creative writing students in an open, light-filled space with movable furniture;

Podcasters and YouTube stars shining in a our new music and video recording studio; 

Students in world language classes learning to prepare authentic dishes alongside international Residence Life students in an immersive food lab;

Alumni from around the world tinkering alongside students in a high-touch makerspace;

Day and boarding Upper School students enjoying quiet reflection surrounded by book-lined shelves on the weekends;

The Charlottesville/Albemarle community convening for a workshop with a prominent thought leader.

“The studio will be a tremendous tribute to Tess’s talents and contributions, and I am grateful to the Majors family for their collaboration,” says Dr. Graves. “I also want to extend a heartfelt congratulations to David and the entire Lourie family. The learning center will be a fitting recognition of his 14 years of leadership and innovative teaching as head of school. We look forward to sharing more details in the months to come.”

Contact us to learn more about: 

  • Supporting this project — Warren Buford, Associate Head of School for Advancement, (wbuford@stab.org; 434-296-5106)

  • Upper School academics and programming — Beth Miller, Head of the Upper School (bmiller@stab.org; 434-296-5106)


 


EXPLORE THE SCHOOL

    St. Anne's-Belfield School