By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools Lab+ Campaign closed at the end of 2013 having successfully met its $55 million goal, according to David Magill, director of the Lab Schools.
In 2008, the University of Chicago Board of Trustees approved a request from the Lab Schools, 1362 E. 59th St., to launch the Lab+ Campaign to update and expand the school.
Magill said the school needed to be brought up to 21st century standards so it could remain competitive.
“The needs underpinning this campaign to enhance every aspect of the Lab experience have been in discussion since my arrival more than a decade ago,” Magill said prior to the launch of the campaign. “Years of planning, creativity, generosity and the involvement of so many faculty, staff, parents, alumni and students have made these transformative enhancements possible.”
Several projects have been completed or are underway as a result of the Lab+ Campaign.
Earl Shapiro Hall was constructed at 5800 S. Stony Island Ave. and became the home of the school’s early childhood education program in August 2013. In 2008 the Shapiro family — Earl’s wife, Brenda, and their children Matthew, Benjamin, and Alexandra, who all attended the schools — gave a $10 million gift to the Lab Schools.
Lab was able to update its current libraries, add additional libraries and provide long-deferred maintenance to the historic gothic building that is the heart of the school.
Lab is also in the process of building an arts wing. The wing will be named after Lab alum Sherry Lansing, a retired motion picture studio executive who donated $5 million to the Lab+ Campaign.
The arts wing will be a three-story complex on the ground floor of Belfield Hall between the two Belfield towers. It will include a lobby/art gallery, a 700-seat assembly and musical performance auditorium, a 250-seat theater, a 150-seat drama studio, four art studios and a digital media/photography lab, as well as large music rehearsal spaces for band, orchestra and choir; large and small practice rooms; a scene shop for theater; a costume shop and affiliated administrative spaces.