The Evolution of South Wing

Isla Johnston, Staff Writer

One of the first things that each person sees as they drive onto campus is South Wing. Located adjacent to the iconic columns of Beard Hall, this building has taken on many different forms. Between a faculty lounge, cafeteria, middle school classrooms, and now the CTL and art rooms, this building has seen it all. It is currently home to some of the Art and Design Department and the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Between a faculty lounge, cafeteria, middle school classrooms, and now the CTL and art rooms, this building has seen it all.

World Language teacher Señora Vaughan Leigh has been at MBS for over 30 years. She said, “[South Wing] just seems to take on whatever needs space, but it is not a large space.” Ms. Laurie Hartman, who is celebrating her 41st year at MBS this year, has seen South Wing in a variety of capacities. Hartman, who teaches in the Art and Design Department, explained how the building continues to take on subjects that lack space. 

South Wing was initially a cafeteria and faculty lounge, but when it was clear that there was not enough room for a kitchen, it transitioned to an office space. At the time, there was a great demand for offices as the headmaster was living in Alumni House at the time. Its next role was as a host to some Middle School classes with a couple of art rooms. 

Being a seemingly random assortment of departments and classrooms may not be the most effective use of the space. Mr. Kevin McDonald, Class of 2023 Dean and Wellness teacher, said, “We could probably recreate the spaces up there to better accommodate the students.” Hartman suggested making South Wing a full-time art space so the whole department could be in one location. Presently, there are art classes in South Wing, Wilkie and the CID. However, she said, if South Wing were to be exclusively for the Art & Design Department, a remodel may be necessary. For example, Hartman said that she wants to make the ventilation better for the ceramic kiln that is currently housed in the basement. 

As MBS continues to grow, space becomes more and more limited, not just for classes but also for spaces students can occupy during their free period. Since South Wing has taken on whatever space is needed, Leigh suggested making it a space for underclassmen students to hang out and work as they don’t have many places to go during their alternate lunch or free periods. 

Like many of the spaces on campus, South Wing will never just be one thing. From its early beginnings as a cafeteria to its current use as an academic space, South Wing has been an integral part of MBS history and will continue to play an important role in shaping the experiences of MBS students.