Beginning in June of 2016, The Alexander K. Buck ’49 Building will undergo an extensive renovation and expansion. The project, designed by leading educational architects Clarke Caton Hintz, will create a state-of-the-art learning environment befitting the innovative and personalized experience of The Hun Middle School. The $5.5 million initiative will expand and modernize Middle School classrooms, labs, and gathering spaces, while adding contemporary aesthetics and substantial light.
A thriving Middle School enrollment, along with a desire to provide facilities that enhance teaching and learning, led the School’s Board of Trustees to designate the Buck Building as a top campus priority. Built in 1974, the Buck Building’s initial incarnation placed The Hun Middle School on the lower floor and in the basement annex, with a student activity center, snack bar, and balcony located on the first floor. In 2015, the Breen Family Campus Center and PA Café opened inside the Wilf Family Global Commons, creating an opportunity to expand the space allocated to Middle School activities. Once the renovation is complete, the Middle School community will inhabit all three floors – increasing its dedicated space from 11,000 – to 19,000 square feet.
The Buck Building exterior will be renovated to include a new façade and modern details. The main entrance on the south side of the building will open into a bright and centralized welcome foyer, student lounge, and administrative office suite. The interior has been designed to provide larger, light-filled classrooms and labs, with better flexibility for hands-on and group learning. The completed renovation will be highly energy efficient, reducing the building’s current energy use by 50%.
Additional features include:
12 classrooms, 80 – 100% larger
2 state-of-the-art STEM labs
Robotics construction zone
Video production and media studio
Visual art studio
Community space for assemblies, performing arts, dance, and martial arts
Student common area
The Buck Building Renovation will take place in phases, each specifically designed to preserve the integrity of the learning environment. Throughout the construction project, crews and administrators will work together to utilize school breaks for the most invasive work and avoid excessive noise during testing periods. Pending necessary permits and approvals, work will begin in June of 2016.
Summer of 2016 - Construction will focus on southeast exterior renovations and the demolition and build out of the entire upper floor.
Fall of 2016 - Students and faculty will utilize the existing lower floor classrooms, while construction continues throughout the upper floor.
Winter and Spring 2017 – Construction will focus on the western-facing classrooms on the upper and lower floors. Students will utilize the eastern portion of the upper (renovated) and lower (existing) floors.
Summer of 2017 – Work will focus on the southwestern classrooms on the lower floor, the basement annex, and the balance of the exterior.
Fall of 2017 - Middle School students and faculty will have full use of the newly renovated Buck Building.
Community Impact and Safety
Student safety is The Hun School’s foremost priority. Because part of the Buck Building renovation will take place during the academic year, considerations will be made in order to maintain a safe and peaceful learning environment. For example, construction areas will be sealed off to contain dust. The most significant and noisiest work will take place during summer breaks and school vacation periods. With oversight from the New Jersey Division of Community Affairs and the Princeton Fire Department, the School will maintain all life safety systems and an appropriate number of entrances and exits at all times. Construction crews will utilize separate entrances, exits, and restrooms from those of our students and faculty. In addition, the School will appoint campus representatives to monitor crews and on-going work.
While we cannot promise that crews will go unnoticed, we are working with crews to minimize disruptions. Construction areas will be sealed off to contain dust. The most significant and noisiest work will take place during summer breaks and school vacation periods. And, a school representative will coordinate and monitor the work to ensure that we maintain the integrity of the learning environment.
The Buck Building Renovation will nearly double the square footage of the existing Middle School. This is primarily intended to create additional space for innovative and collaborative learning. However, it also allows us to comfortably increase Middle School enrollment to 110 students. Fractionally increasing our enrollment will benefit and enrich all Middle School programs - academic, athletic, and extracurricular, while allowing us to maintain our highly celebrated average class size.
We will host several parent meetings to provide information about the renovation. Regular updates will be posted to this website and parent e-bulletin. And, at any given time, you are welcome to call our Director of Facilities J. Michael Chaykowsky ’80 with questions.
Yes! Not only will the renovation create a new Middle School student center, but it will also include a large community gathering space with a retractable exterior wall. This new space will be perfect for Middle School assemblies, performing arts, dance, and martial arts. In addition, Middle School students are always welcome in the Breen Campus Center within the Wilf Family Global Commons.
Safety is always the School’s utmost priority. Construction areas will be separated and sealed off from student areas at all times. Crews will utilize separate entrances, exits, and restrooms from those of our students and faculty. In addition, the School will appoint campus representatives to monitor crews and on-going work. With oversight from the New Jersey Division of Community Affairs and the Princeton Fire Department, the School will maintain all life safety systems and an appropriate number of entrances and exits at all times.
“Middle Schoolers react to their learning environment in very unique ways. They crave learning and community spaces—places to come together, socialize, and collaborate. And every one of them also needs to feel like there’s a place on this campus that’s just for them. The Buck Building renovation will accomplish this and provide state-of-the-art teaching spaces for our faculty as well.”
For philanthropic and naming opportunities, contact: Assistant Headmaster for Advancement Andrew C. Hamlin
The Hun School of Princeton is an independent, coeducational, private day and boarding college preparatory school. Student-centered, hands-on learning prepares students for the global community in which they will live and work.