The ribbon was cut recently on renovations to the middle school dining hall at Montclair Kimberley Academy by trustees, former alumni and friends.
Less than a year ago, the school's board of trustees approved plans to totally renovate the middle school dining hall and create a new, flexible meeting area for students, faculty, administration and parents. And on Oct. 13, the middle school dining hall and the James and Louise Higgins Common Room were officially opened.
The dining hall was unveiled in front of an audience that included President of the Board Michael Johnson; Headmaster Thomas Nammack; head of the middle school, Dr. Randy Kleinman; and trustees and donors.
Nammack reflected on the decisions that the board and administration had made following the 2006-07 strategic planning process. The goal was to work toward creating a common look for the school's buildings and facilities, with an emphasis on transforming current spaces into enduring and versatile facilities.
Standing in the finished dining hall, Nammack quoted William Morris, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
“These spaces impact the lives of every middle school student today and will continue to do so for generations of middle schoolers to come," commented Kleinman
Kleinman went on to describe the “social learning that takes place each day in the dining hall, thanks to the new, varied seating arrangements, the enhanced service capability that helps to provide better food, and an atmosphere that instills pride in the students.”
“All the components of the Penick Center are learning spaces,” noted Kleinman, “most of which each and every student uses in some way every day. The impact these spaces have on positive school climate and everyone in our community just can’t be overestimated and we are so proud to have such an impressive, functional and transformative gateway to MKA.”
Prior to cutting the ribbon to officially dedicate the newly completed spaces, Johnson thanked leadership benefactors for their vision and commitment in helping to bring these projects to fruition.
“This renovation of the Penick Center will serve as a clear statement about the power of philanthropy to transform student life here at MKA," he said. "What you have accomplished here will set the tone and standard for all that is to come.”
The completion of these projects represents the final stage in the total renovation of the Penick Center at the Middle School -- the auditorium and lobby were refurbished in 2010.