Campus is typically quiet during the summer months, but this year the lower level of Becker Library was abuzz with activity. Crossroads, as the heavily trafficked mixed-use space is nicknamed, was completely remodeled for the start of school — thanks to last year’s successful Make It Happen auction, the “paddles-up” portion of the Parents’ Association’s (PA’s) annual Spring Swing fundraiser.
“The community raised just over $100,000 for the renovation,” explained Chief Financial Officer Cindy Stadulis. “Improvements included installing new flooring and furniture, painting walls and ceilings, consolidating storage spaces, and upgrading the bathrooms. We also upgraded the faculty offices and added student and faculty carrels.
“We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to take on these targeted Make It Happen projects, as they benefit the entire school community in both academic and social settings,” added Stadulis, who praised the hard work of parent Melinda Young, last year’s Make It Happen chair, as well as all the parent volunteers and generous donors who helped make the fundraiser so successful.
“This really was the perfect project, as the upgrades complement the library renovations that took place last summer,” said Stadulis, who noted that many of the same design elements from the library remodel were used throughout Crossroads, including the color palette, flooring style and furniture. “The look of the two spaces is much more cohesive now.”
The redesign fulfills a wide range of community needs. In addition to providing dedicated space for students to meet with faculty and learning specialists, the new furniture can be reconfigured easily for club meetings and study groups. There is even a floor-to-ceiling white board on one wall for creative brainstorming. “Making Crossroads a more interactive academic space also allows the library to become a more focused study area,” Stadulis said.
The scheduled summer renovations all were completed by the start of school, but Stadulis said Crossroads remains “a work in progress.” Moving forward, administrators will review proposals to update the landscaping behind the building and install more energy-efficient windows in the front faculty offices. “New landscaping will further enhance the beauty of The Hill, the heart of our campus,” she said.
Perhaps the most significant change to the space is its new name, Kathryn Respess Crossroads, in memory of the beloved history teacher and dorm parent who taught at St. Stephen’s for 50 years. “We wanted to honor her close relationship with students in this space,” said Head Librarian Cynthia Bartek, who directed the renovation. “She collaborated with and supported students throughout her long tenure at the school. I think she would smile knowing this shared space reflects her natural approach to teaching.”
A dedication ceremony for the Kathryn Respess Crossroads will be held later this fall. Stay tuned for more information.