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Construction begins on the GSE’s new home

Photo of Dan Schwartz speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony
GSE Dean Dan Schwartz spoke at a ceremony to launch the renovation of the school's campus, which will feature 150,000 square feet of teaching, convening, conference, and community spaces. (Photo: Sherry Tesler / Light FX Photography)

Construction begins on the GSE’s new home

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and supporters gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of a new era for the school.

Members of Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) and the broader university community gathered Thursday afternoon for a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction on the school’s new home.

In his opening remarks, Dan Schwartz, dean of the GSE, said that the project reflects the excitement and energy within the GSE community and will lead to significant contributions to the field of education.

“The new campus [is] a tangible representation of all that’s happening at the school,” he said. “It will help facilitate new research aimed at solving some of the biggest challenges in learning.”

The ceremony included GSE students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as donors and Land, Buildings and Real Estate staff. The event took place at the site of the future GSE building on Lasuen Mall, between the Main Quad and Meyer Green. It included remarks from Provost Persis Drell and third-year PhD candidate Madison Bunderson, a ceremonial turning of the soil, and a reception.

The project includes a renovation of the historic Education Building at 485 Lasuen Mall, construction of a new building at 505 Lasuen Mall, plus the current Barnum Center for Family and Community Partnerships, which will remain and retain the Barnum family name. The three buildings will be connected by a 13,500-square-foot courtyard with a garden and outdoor classroom.

The renovated GSE campus will feature 150,000 square feet of teaching, convening, conference, and community spaces. It will enable new forms of teaching and learning with capacities for changing technologies and project-based work. It will also house the Stanford Teacher Education Program and the Stanford Accelerator for Learning, which is designed to bring scholars from across the university together with field experts and partners to co-create solutions in learning.

Rendering of new GSE campus

A courtyard connecting the new GSE will include an outdoor classroom and the Mary Bell Floyd Memorial Garden, designed to be in bloom all year. (Image credit: Courtesy William Rawn Associates + CAW Architects)

“It will foster collaborations to take education into a currently unimaginable and brighter future,” Schwartz said. “In the end, the campus will do what architecture does best: orchestrate social interaction.”

The project’s origins date back to the tenure of former GSE Dean Claude Steele, who advocated for a new building. His successor, Dean Deborah Stipek, continued that advocacy and convened a task force to investigate the possibility of new facilities. After Schwartz became dean, he collaborated on a new vision for the school and helped researchers respond to urgent issues of the moment, including the COVID-19 pandemic, widening inequities, and a nationwide reckoning on racism. The project slowed but eventually regained its momentum. Construction and renovation is expected to take about two and a half years to complete.

The new campus is made possible by significant philanthropic support from many donors, including lead gifts from longtime Stanford supporters Angela Nomellini, ’75, and husband Ken Olivier, ’74, and Tricia and Jeff Raikes, ’80.

“We’re really grateful for your commitment and your contributions to create a new and expanded center for this important work,” said Drell, noting that the GSE plays a central and fundamental role in the university’s mission to pursue knowledge for the benefit of society.

Drell also acknowledged the importance of the GSE’s central location on campus and how it will encourage connections and foster collaboration.

“The Graduate School of Education’s new expanded home will be a very highly visible beacon of the promise and the potential of education,” she said. “It will draw students, faculty, researchers and practitioners from diverse fields who share the desire to improve outcomes for every kind of learner at any stage of their educational journey.”

Bunderson, who studies in the Developmental and Psychological Sciences Program at the GSE, said that her interdisciplinary work – and that of others at the GSE and across Stanford – will greatly benefit from the new campus.

“No learning or research can happen without collaborative relationships,” she said. “For those of us who sit at the intersection of multiple fields, it’s this interconnected community of the GSE that’s the scaffold that makes our work possible.”

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