Welcome to the Gerald L. Boarman Discovery Center!
This 70,000 square-foot building is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and scores of special features that affirm our commitment to environmental sustainability and 21st century learning
Take a look inside the Discovery Center and see how Bullis students and teachers are taking advantage of the new spaces to create innovative learning opportunities.
The Trone Tower, as this section of the Discovery Center is known, is comprised of the Welcome Desk on the main floor (given by The Fink Family), the Presentation Classroom on the second floor and the Administrative Suite on the third floor (given by the Meltzer Family).
The Welcome desk operates from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Across from the Welcome Desk is a gas fireplace with limestone hearth and terracotta face. The desk is positioned between the two main entrances to the building.
Tammy McKnight P ’15, ’18 and Shannon Priddy P ’14, ’16, ’21 are the initial point of contact for all visitors to the Discovery Center and serve as the building coordinators. They coordinate all scheduling of the building’s many meeting and conference rooms, study spaces, rooftop terrace and the studio theater. In addition, they ensure that the building is maintained to the highest standard of appearance and function.
Given by The David and June Trone Foundation
The Grand Lobby serves as an informal hub for student and staff gathering.
Included in the Lobby are two centerpiece aquariums: one 700-gallon saltwater aquarium (given by Marvin & Jo Anne McIntyre in honor of their grandchildren) and one 500-gallon freshwater aquarium (given by The Warsaw Family). They hold a variety of marine life, including peaceful community reef fish, an assortment of living coral, and other invertebrates such as snails, crabs, sea urchins and more. The aquariums are incorporated into instructional and research activities.
Given by Diana Davis Spencer, Abby Spencer Moffat & The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation
This gracious space includes the 1930 Grille and the Patio outside. It is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., managed by Doan Duong who has worked at Bullis for more than 30 years (formerly managing the Dining Hall). Students are able to purchase items such as coffee, smoothies, bottled drinks, salads and sandwiches, gelato and more. They can charge items to their student account, or pay with cash or credit card. Seating in the Grille is available both inside and outside on the adjacent Patio.
Behind the café is a full catering kitchen that provides prep and storage space for events. It is furnished with a grill, stove, oven, ice machine, walk-in cooler and freezer. Food science courses also utilize this space.
Given by The Leder Family Philanthropic Fund and Patio, Given by The Carlynn and Lawrence Silverman Family Foundation Inc.
Embedded in the large lobby windows around the café area and the grand staircase are ceramic bits known as window frit. In a technique akin to silk-screening, applying frit makes the glass safer for birds flying in the area, reduces glare, and increases energy efficiency in the building.
The custom-designed frit in our windows is inspired by the symbol for carbon.
Given by The Baltimore Family
The Discovery Center is on track to be certified as a LEED Silver building from the U.S. Green Building Council, verifying the sustainability and resource efficiency achieved during construction and embedded in the long-term use of the building:
- 30% of all materials in the building are recycled content, ranging from terracotta and roof membrane to finish products such as drywall and carpet.
- 41% of all materials in the building by cost are regional materials—20% of materials overall—were harvested and manufactured within 500 miles of Bullis School, which reduces pollutants resulting from transportation.
- 75% of dumpster waste is diverted from landfills, recovered back into the manufacturing process or as reusable materials at appropriate sites.
- High Solar Reflective Index (SRI), light-colored roofing materials reduce energy consumption and reduce the urban heat island effect.
- High-efficiency, low-flush/flow plumbing fixtures reduce water use by 35% from code requirements.
- Energy performance of 24% better than ASHRAE 90.1 (code), achieved, in part, by LED lighting, double-paned glass windows with electric shades, and light sensors in classrooms and bathrooms.
- Recycling/diversion of 79% of all construction & demolition debris (C&D) from the landfill, accounting for 313.85 tons of debris that was recycled.
- Low-chemical, Low-VOC paints, sealants, adhesives, and flooring products.
- Bio-retention pond installation which filters out toxins and chemicals that may contaminate storm water (see number 17).
Double the size of its former location, the School Store now has a dressing room and even more storage ... which means more Bulldog gear! Open 7:45 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and closed on School holidays.
Given by The Schuble Family
Seating up to 273 people on retractable, comfortable theater seats, the Studio Theater offers all the technical and visual advantages of a state-of-the-art auditorium. The wood floor has a slight spring in it to make it ideal for dance performances. Walls are soundproofed. Sound and light booths are off the floor (look up in the back corners) to protect sight lines for the audience. A movie-size screen (25-feet diagonally) can be lowered at the front of the theater. Four cameras (two in front and two in back) can be used for large-scale video conferencing or to capture the productions on stage—and then broadcast them on the wall of video screens in the lobby.
To the side of stage-right and stage-left are dressing rooms with makeup tables, ample storage, and sinks for performers.
Given by The Caulfield Family
The Bullis Innovation & Technology Lab, or BITLab, is our name for this amazing fabrication lab. Divided into two spaces, including a MakerSpace (given by The Helmig Family) for robotics and high-tech design, the space includes 3D and resin printers, laser cutter, sewing machine, vinyl cutter and work stations.
The Fab Lab (given by the Snow & Teel Family) features such equipment as bench grinder, welding station, CNC router, milling machine, ducted spray booth, vacuum former, saws (table, band, scroll and mitre), drill press, injection molding machine, convection oven, and furnace.
Given by The Wisnosky Family Foundation
This classroom is specifically designed for science and engineering discovery for Lower School students. They will carry out hands-on investigations and practice next-generation science and engineering concepts and skills using a variety of materials, methods, models, and conversation techniques to deepen their understanding and questioning of the natural world and natural phenomena.
The Outdoor Classroom (given by The Hanley Family) provides ample space for students to explore these natural phenomena using such tools as a built-in cistern, a stream bed, a weather station, and an armature used for a wide variety of tools to study magnetism, simple machines, and motion.
Given by The Priddy Family, including the Hanley Family Outdoor Classroom, Given by The Hanley Family
This room is equipped with a 3D printer and vinyl cutter, as well as assorted robotics and general making supplies and tools.
Lower School design classes (formerly known as coding or technology) occur weekly for all grades K-5. They enjoy a mix of on-screen coding, robotics and building/engineering projects. The focus is on Design Thinking to build and create—whether purely physical, purely electronic, or blending them in robotics via age-appropriate systems.
Students in 6th grade study Design Thinking in this room; 7th graders take Connected Technology. These classes use Design Thinking protocol to create structures, design items and projects, code in Scratch, and interact with external electronic devices such as Makey Makeys and robotics.
Given by The Christensen Family
The building is home to 23 classrooms and labs. Each one has an accent color chosen to evoke natural colors from the outdoors. With so much natural light throughout the building—even in interior classrooms—these colors lend dimensionality and a sense of calm and coolness.
Steelcase furnishings have been specially selected for each room, lounge space and hallway:
Movable furniture and seating options in classes and labs support multiple modes of learning—discussion, small group, and lecture. They also provide options for students to assume alternative positions for their comfort, avoiding the rigid “row by column” settings of the past. Every seat can be “a good seat,” and such flexibility means that there’s not a set ‘front’ or ‘back’ of the classroom.
Five meeting rooms offer a variety of set-ups for students to work together, collaborating via computer or for focused discussions. Wide hallways and open areas outside the classrooms and labs function as more than just transition spaces. They are designed for multiple active learning situations and for social use and informal interactions that provide opportunities for students to expand their thinking and develop meaningful relationships that exert a positive influence throughout life. Mentor time, conversation time, and socializing all give the mind a rest and helps students to develop.
Other spaces offer opportunities for students to screen out distractions or rest—or to welcome them, depending on what they are doing. Writing a paper or finishing a reading assignment requires focus; creativity seeks inspiration, camaraderie and sensory stimulation; and socializing rejuvenates students.
With thanks to parent and Arbee Associates President Nancy Berkowitz P ’18 and ’21 for her thoughtful guidance in these selections.
This room houses both marine biology and food nutrition classes. In support of the marine biology program, this room is housed with a variety of specialty fish tanks:
- 20 tanks make up a lab-grade freshwater zebrafish system (zebrafish is commonly used in genetic testing and experiments)
- 8 saltwater tanks for a controlled system to be used in breeding, growing and other experiments involving a common water supply
- 4 stand-alone saltwater system tanks that can be used for student experiments including live coral, cold and warm water fish and invertebrates, as well as photosynthetic species of all kinds where different environmental parameters (temperature, light, Ph, calcium, alkalinity, etc.) are desired.
Middle School science use zSpace labs to augment their learning. Through the use of zSpace, teachers are able to set up experiments and explore concepts that would be difficult in a classroom setting. The technology has applications in a wide range of subjects, including biology, engineering, and physics.
zSpace combines augmented and virtual reality to create learning experiences through explorations and labs that allow students to interact with simulated objects in virtual environments as if they are real. The goal is to bring to life abstract and often difficult-to-explain classroom material that may also be difficult to replicate within the constraints of a classroom.
Examples of the technology include:
- See a beating heart in virtual reality—pick it up, rotate it, and peel back layers to examine how the heart looks inside as it beats
- Assemble and test models of electrical circuits
- Design and create objects that could then be 3D printed
- Design, build and run experiments that explore Newton’s laws (including changing gravity, reversing time, gathering data to analyze)
zSpace stations consist of large screens connected to computers that teachers and students can use with special 3D glasses and a stylus pen. When students put on the glasses, images appear in 3D. Cameras track the user’s head movement, letting them move closer to get a better view of objects. The stylus lets users pick up things and see them from every angle.
Given by The Copeland Family
This dynamic space includes:
- Classroom with writable glass boards for collaboration, video capability to talk with outside speakers/experts, and a spatial design for interactive lessons.
- Three breakout rooms for team meetings and design sessions. Monitors, conference tables and lounge furniture is conducive to brainstorming and collaboration, and the technology enables the teams to conduct virtual meetings with mentors and other advisors.
- The Presentation Classroom down the hall is designed for teams to practice pitches to potential investors, customers, and ‘sharks’ for the end-of-year final presentation.
The Innovation Lab is dedicated by a loyal Bullis alumnus in honor of long-time Middle School History Teacher and Coach Mr. Glenn Hunter, for the positive impact he had on this donor’s life and the lives of countless other Bullis students.
Although called the Board Room, this space is available for groups to use for large meetings, including teacher-led instructional task forces and Parents Association meetings. The table offers a stunning view of the Quad and seats 40 people. The room features a kitchenette, built-in microphones, a glass writing/wall board, sound-proofing, and has a stunning view of the Quad.
Given by The Bruce Kogod Family
This relaxing space features a green roof, seating, landscaping, water feature and a fire pit. The water feature was given in honor of Charles E. Coleman & Family.
The large bench was designed by Facilities Director Bub Butland and built in-house by our Facilities crew, made of thermory wood that will not rot. Designed to be a restful spot for all to use and enjoy, the deck may also be the site for small group gatherings. Catering for official functions is possible via an elevator from the first-floor kitchen.
The quad has been redesigned and re-landscaped to connect the three buildings that frame it—the Discovery Center, Founders Hall and the Marriott Family Library, as well as the flagpole circle.
Thermory wood was used on the west end to complete the circular sidewalk, rather than concrete or pavers, to protect two old oak trees that date back to the 1950s. This protects the trees’ root environment, which would have been damaged by digging to pour concrete.
The grassy valleys between the Discovery Center and South Hall are actually bioretention ponds which slow down the quantity of stormwater leaving the site. Their design, coupled with Maryland-native plants, serve as natural filters to remove toxins and chemicals (i.e. from vehicles and pesticides) that may contaminate the storm water runoff.
The storm water gathers in these areas, which consist of a grass buffer, planting soil and plants, mulch, sand bed, ponding area and underground pipe drains. This slows down the drainage process and cleans the water, which infiltrates nearby native soils; anything left is directed to the drainage system. Overflow storm drains are installed for heavy storm absorption that accumulates over the maximum ponding depth.
The patio and terraced steps alongside the pond areas invite students and classes to gather during nice weather.
North Pond Given by The Morris Family, including the South Patio, Given by The Sahady Family
Dr. Gerald L. Boarman, Bullis Head of School, now has his office located in one of the primary student classroom buildings on campus.
Given by Biao Li & Ming Zhu Lao
Offices and conference room for members of the School’s administrative team and support staff. The conference room was given in honor of James Lemon Pitzer ’17 by The Lemon Family Foundation.
Given by The Meltzer Family
The Digital Media Studio is a creative hub for video and audio recording. Students who take Intro to Digital Media, an Upper School technology elective, utilize the space as they learn how to light portraits and interviews, record audio and edit video stories. Professional LED studio lights, 4K mirrorless cameras and fast laptops equipped with Adobe Creative Suite give students the opportunity to discover new passions while using industry standard equipment and software to create multimedia stories for their digital portfolios.
With a chroma green screen painted on the back wall of the studio, students are able to create any environment or background they can imagine for their photos and videos using carefully planned lighting and visual effects software. Future class offerings and cross-curricular partnerships allow students to dive deeper into specific interests like motion graphics, video journalism, podcasting and more.
Students in Bulldog Productions, an Upper School activity credit offered in the fall and spring trimesters, use the studio to craft content for live broadcasts of athletic events and the video display board at the stadium.
Middle School students also have the opportunity to use the studio during a video production unit built into the technology curriculum. Working in groups, they plan, shoot and edit video stories using much of the same equipment and software as Upper School students.
The space features a dedicated audio recording booth with a window into the main studio. With a digital sound mixing board at their fingertips and high quality microphones, students will be able to capture and master pro quality recordings for their portfolios.
The studio is also used to create promotional, fundraising and campus news content to share with the Bullis community and beyond.
Given by The Huang Family
The Telepresence Room is designed to bring Bullis students in contact with people around the world—or even out in space!—for discussion, collaboration and learning. Equipped with three cameras to capture the room (two in front, one in the rear and one on each side), the room has sound-enhancing ceiling tiles and built-in microphones to provide high quality surround sound for our students and to amplify our students’ comments to their long-distance collaborators.
With seating for 21, the Telepresence Room provides a state-of-the-art system to bridge distances and communities, making our world a much smaller place that is easier to navigate than ever.
Given by The Kay Family
The X Classroom is a math room that integrates furniture, technology and work tools to support a variety of teaching and learning methods. The unique X configuration means there is no front or back of the room. The fixed and portable whiteboards and display screen placement makes it easy for students to generate, capture and share their work. Face-to-face seating also encourages collaboration and helps students maintain attention.
Given by The Zolet Family
This lovely Cabinet Grand Piano was manufactured by German piano manufacturer Grotrian-Steinweg. The Theo family enjoyed this piano in their home for many years and donated it to Bullis for the Discovery Center. Mrs. Nikola Theo said,
Our children [Maximillian Maurach ’17 and Oriana ’14] spent so many wonderful years at Bullis. Our daughter Oriana was very involved in the world of music and performing at Bullis, so giving this piano, which was such a part of her life, to the school felt like the right thing to do.”
Given by The Theo Family