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Governor’s Academy to expand student center

The Governor’s Academy will shortly break ground on the renovation and expansion of its Peter Marshall French Student Center, according to an announcement from Head of School Peter H. Quimby.

Officials at the 257-year-old independent high school in the Byfield section of Newbury said the project will transform the student experience on campus.

The more than 40-year-old existing student center no longer meets the space or functional needs of the school community, according to the academy, which serves about 400 boarding and day students on its 456-acre campus.

Set for completion this fall, the project — involving 11,000 square feet of renovation and 5,000 square feet of new construction — is intended to make the center a hub of activity for students and campus programming, according to Lindsay McPherson Batastini, the academy’s director of marketing and communications.


Once completed next August, the renovated and expanded facility will feature flexible activity spaces, a wellness studio, a cafe and grill, an outdoor terrace, and new humanities classrooms, along with long-awaited day student lockers and showering facilities.

TMS Architects of Portsmouth, N.H., designed the project and Boston-based Shawmut Design and Construction will serve as general contractor. The project is the first of three the academy plans to undertake with some of the proceeds of an ongoing comprehensive fund-raising campaign it launched in October 2017.

The other planned projects are the construction of a new environmental research and classroom building along the banks of the Parker River and the building of new faculty housing.

John Laidler can be reached at