Tatnall School breaks ground on $1M modern library

Tatnall School breaks ground with a new $1 Million library

The Tatnall School in Wilmington is transforming its library this summer to include STEM technology, 3D printers, robotics, a new media bar and more.

“The library was incredibly underutilized as stacks of books,” said Patrick Manahan, director of advancement for Tatnall. “The resource books which had long been a hallmark of the library space were all moving online.”

School and government officials ceremoniously broke ground on the project Wednesday morning. 

They echoed that the Ederic Library has been a foundational space for the school since it was built more than 50 years ago.

“Schools like Tatnall have an enormous responsibility and enormous burden to somehow adapt to this tremendously changing world,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, “and to create wisdom and education for our children.”

“We will see this aesthetic of the design and the decor transformed to make the library the central hub of the school,” said Chris Daniels, president of Tatnall’s school’s board of trustees. “This will include enclosed collaborative spaces, science, lab tables and individual study rooms that students can use.”

Tatnall isn’t alone in  updating its library to reflect changes in today’s technology and learning styles. Tower Hill School last year unveiled its new library, dubbed the Education Hub, paid for through a capital campaign. 

The budget for Tatnall’s renovations is $977,000, driven by a  $475,000 grant from the Longwood Foundation. The rest of the money came from a few other local foundations and private individuals within the Tatnall community, such as alumni, parents and board members.

“We have this beautiful space that is central to our community, but it’s getting almost no traffic,” Manahan said,” and that dovetailed with our effort to be much more flexible in how we’re thinking about traditional classroom learning.”

If someone time-traveled from 1850 to 2023, he said, they would be utterly confused by everything except a classroom, which largely has remained the same environment.

Tatnall is hoping to bring technology and collaboration to the school in order to modernize the way students learn.

“Whether it’s English history, science and math, or just creative electives, we need functional spaces to spur on kids’ creativity, get them thinking outside the box and also give teachers more flexibility in how they can deliver the material,” Manahan said. 

The new library will be filled with “flexible learning spaces,” which range from comfy furniture lounges to conference rooms.

Andrew Martire, Tatnall’s head of school, said the project includes creating a showpiece eco-courtyard outside the library that demonstrates the school’s dedication to outdoor learning and eco-friendly technology. 

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