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Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School is the oldest Catholic high school for girls in the United States, founded in 1799 and is run by the Sisters of Visitation. Visitation focuses on educational excellence and empowering its students to meet the demands and challenges of a rapidly changing and morally complex world. Visitation is dedicated to balancing academic challenges with co-curricular activities and community service in order to develop intellectually mature and morally responsible women of faith, vision, and purpose. Over the years, Visitation has grown and needed to address two pressing needs at the School: to meet the demand for an adequately-sized and appointed classroom space and to upgrade the School’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) classroom.
CGS Architects’ design features a glass hyphen serving as the Saint’s Connector linking St. Joseph’s Hall to the adjacent St. Bernard Library. This light filled, enclosed 2-story volume creates a new entrance for the academic facility and houses a highly-used and trafficked student commons. The glass and exposed steel expression contrasts the heavy masonry skin of the adjacent historic structures. The 2-story north connector addition balances the mass and scale of the existing historic St. Bernard Library – originally constructed in 1895 and converted to educational space in 1959 – with a form that is derived from the original architecture. The glass curtain wall ties the new addition to the new entrance link and creates light-filled academic spaces.
The STEM Center is located to the back of the Saint’s Connector, utilizing the light provided through the large glass walls. The exterior wall of the Center opens entirely to the rear patio area giving the students exterior working space. The natural light and openness of the Connector is an inviting space where students congregate to study, work, and enjoy one another’s company.
Berchmans Hall to the north of St. Joseph’s Hall houses art studios, science labs, and other classroom spaces. The addition features small breakouts spaces with whiteboards where students can be found reviewing test results or preparing for an upcoming final.