A St. Louis County private school has received a $21.5 million donation from the James S. McDonnell family.
Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, or MICDS, will use the money to build a new, 52,000 square-foot science and math facility.
MICDS head of school, Lisa Lyle, says the goal is to involve students in the process of scientific research.
"These new lab facilities – the normal classroom/lab environment which is large and well-equipped, as well as the two research spaces – will give every child in the school the opportunity to engage deeply with hands-on, inquiry-based learning," Lyle said.
Lyle says having a research facility on campus will allow students to work with St. Louis-area professionals on long-term research projects.
"It will give us a chance to partner with local bench scientists, and it will give our kids exposure to the kinds of thinking and the habits of mind required to do sustained research," Lyle said.
Lyle believes plant science and medical research will continue to play an important role in the St. Louis economy in the future and wants MICDS students to be prepared.
The school hopes to begin construction on its new facility in the summer of 2012.
The McDonnell family's donation is the largest in the school’s history and the second largest ever to any grade or high school in the region.
James S. McDonnell III graduated from St. Louis Country Day School in 1954. His wife, Elizabeth Hall McDonnell, graduated from Mary Institute in 1958.
James S. McDonnell III is the son of James S. McDonnell, Jr., founder of the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation.