STEAM Center and Makerspace

Notre Dame High School is proud to announce that the Fritz B. Burns Foundation has awarded the school a grant of $900,000 to fund the creation of a new STEAM Center and Makerspace. Maureen Rawlinson and Cheryl Robinson of the Foundation recently visited the NDHS campus to present a check to Principal Alice Cotti, Vice President of Finance Rick Ysasi, and Director of Advancement Richard Klee. The entire Notre Dame community is deeply and profoundly grateful to the Fritz B. Burns Foundation for this grant, and for their generous and ongoing support. 
    • Left to right: Alice Cotti, Richard Klee, Maureen Rawlinson, and Cheryl Robinson

The Vision

“How we educate the mind will change with the times; how we cultivate the heart is and will remain timeless"

When Blessed Basil Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, wrote these prophetic words in the 19th century, he could not have envisioned how the process of education would “change with the times.” At Notre Dame High School, we live his vision by continuing to look for innovative ways to captivate our students through innovative technologies while simultaneously providing them with a quality experience and education. 
While Notre Dame offers a robust college-prep education to students, the school continually strives to be better. An area that has been identified as a current need is for a STEAM center and makerspace. STEAM is an abbreviation for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math education. A makerspace is a collaborative workspace for making, learning, exploring, and sharing. STEAM education and makerspaces have become essential components of a well-rounded education that prepares students for college and life. A STEAM-based education and makerspace with appropriate space and equipment will enable NDHS students to be more engaged with hands-on learning experiences and to translate their creativity and ingenuity into real-world solutions that would benefit the community. 

One of the most important aspects in a Holy Cross Education is the emphasis on building a better society. A STEAM-centered education fosters the highly important skill of teamwork, and in doing so provides the students with the experience of working together in a disciplined environment to create positive change through the application of technology. This could include truly real-world experiences such as establishing an invention team, filing patents, writing apps, and applying for technology and engineering grants to support the process. The teamwork skills and STEAM knowledge will result in graduates who will be able to use technology to problem-solve in a collaborative environment to improve the lives of those in the community around them now and in the future.

The Plan

Moreau Hall (formerly known as the Riverside building) is one of the two original 1947 buildings on campus. In examining the campus, Room 1 in the basement and Room 7 on the first floor of Moreau Hall offer the best option to create a multilevel STEAM center and makerspace.
The plan is to relocate a wall that separates Room 1 from the basement hallway to incorporate more space into the Center, and connect that space with a classroom on the first floor. The project will encompass approximately 3,000 square feet. The lower-level classroom and makerspace will be set off by laminated glass walls, glass doors, and a movable interior glass wall that can be opened to create one combined space. This design maximizes the available square footage and creates the flexibility of having two separate spaces or one large space. By creating two usable learning spaces where there is currently only one, we have a net increase in classrooms. The makerspace will feature a full array of state-of-the-art equipment and laptop computers. Modern HVAC and ventilation will also be installed throughout the basement.

Architectural and engineering work for construction is underway, and the school has employed a STEAM education consultant to help design and plan the learning space in conjunction with Notre Dame faculty. The project is scheduled to be break ground during the 2021-22 school year.

Be a Part of This Exciting Project

There are many ongoing expenses to operating and maintaining a STEAM center and makerspace. This includes the costs for supplies, consumable materials, tools, equipment maintenance, equipment repair, replacement components, and staffing. Part of our plan is to build an endowment to provide for ongoing expenses. Naming opportunities at various levels will be available. The ultimate goal would be for the cost of maintaining and operating the STEAM center and makerspace to be fully covered in perpetuity by an endowment. For additional information, please contact Alexa Barajas, Director of Philanthropy, at 818-933-3610 or
*Make sure to indicate that your gift is for the NDHS STEAM Center/Makerspace Project