NEW MILFORD — Canterbury School officially broke ground on a new construction project: the Steers Center. Named for long-time supporters and trustees Lauren and Bob Steers, it will serve as an inviting and inclusive space for the entire school community to learn, think, explore and be together.
The development of the Steers Center is part of several new construction initiatives — referred to collectively as the Hilltop Projects — taking place over the next few years.
Situated in the middle of the 150-acre campus, the 22,000-square-foot building will open in the fall of 2020 and be the epicenter of student life and innovative interdisciplinary learning.
The Steers Center will house the M. & D. D’Amour Center for Faith, Service and Justice; an innovation lab; a digital analytics lab; flexible classrooms; group study and breakout spaces; a student center; a cafe and the school store.
Faculty and students will use the flexible classroom spaces to weave elements of design thinking, fabrication and ideation processes into subject areas spanning the humanities, arts and sciences.
A two-story wall of windows will look out on the sprawling Litchfield hills beyond campus.
The genesis of the Steers Center came from the students themselves. When asked what would enhance their experience at the school, students unanimously requested a space that would serve as the nexus for student activities — a common area where day and boarding students could spend time between classes, groups could work on projects with their teachers and spiritual growth could be nurtured.
As two of the school’s most loyal supporters, the Steers have shown their trust in and commitment to Head of School Rachel Stone’s leadership and, in turn, have galvanized the school’s progress.
Ms. Stone expressed the school’s gratitude for their unwavering dedication. “Simply put, Lauren and Bob’s passion for the values, program and future of the school, in combination with their enduring and unparallelled commitment of time, talent and treasure, has defined this chapter of Canterbury’s story,” she said.
The Steers’ dedication to Canterbury stems from Mr. Steers’, his brothers’ and his father’s time there, an experience Mr. Steer says profoundly shaped each of their lives.
After graduating from Canterbury in 1971, Mr. Steer obtained a B.S. in finance and economics from Georgetown University and an MBA from George Washington University.
Mr. and Mrs. Steers, along with Martin and Michele Cohen, went on to co-found Cohen & Steers, Inc. in 1986, the first and largest global investment manager dedicated to real estate securities.
The couple resides in Rye, New York. Their younger son, JP, also attended Canterbury, graduating in 2011. Mrs. Steers’ brother, Philip C. Smith, Jr., graduated from Canterbury in 1976.
Mr. Steers shared his and Mrs. Steers’ excitement for the new building and for Canterbury’s future.
“Lauren and I are committed to making this vision a reality. We have the leadership in Rachel and our board and the growing support of our alumni and parents to successfully fulfill these goals,” said Mr. Steers.
“Most importantly, the board is committed to ensuring that Canterbury remains a school that instills character and values in young women and men. This school transformed my father’s life. It transformed my life. But Lauren’s and my commitment is based on more than that; it is based on our abiding belief in Canterbury’s mission to inspire students to become moral leaders in a complex, secular world,” he said.
The groundbreaking ceremony, which kicked off the first Board of Trustees meeting of the academic year, was attended by the entire Canterbury community including students, faculty, staff, donors and trustees.
Those seeking further information about the Steers Center or who wish to follow its progress may visit visit www.campaign.cbury.org.