by Sophie Zuckerman ’25
With hammers, new shipping containers, and even fewer parking spots in the back of the school, students and faculty alike might wonder what all the fuss is for. The Exospace is the new addition to the engineering and entrepreneurship program at The Leffell School: E2. Although the Exospace is part of the E2 Department, it will not only benefit E2 students, it will also serve as an outdoor classroom equipped with picnic tables and clear space to work outside and is expected to be completed this spring.
The E2 program originally started in one small room in the high school. It has slowly expanded through the building, taking over some of the storage space that belongs to the theater department.
“Because we expanded the back of the workshop, and the whole back area used to be storage for theater equipment, we needed to create a space for storage,” Director of Engineering and Design Dr. Daniel Aviv said.
Additionally, Aviv has a much larger vision for this new outdoor space than just storage.
“My idea was this: imagine a cement pad with a 40-foot shipping container and a 20-foot shipping container,” Aviv said. “This new space will be storage for theater equipment, E2 equipment and storage for the equipment to do projects out there.”
While the Exospace came together quickly, it has been in the making for a long time.
“Two years ago we came up with the plan,” Aviv said. “About a year and a half ago there was an anonymous donor who offered to pay for it, and we have been building from there.”
In early November, construction began on a plot of land behind the school. Then, a cement pad was laid down as the base for the Exospace.
“The Exospace itself is going to be a large cement pad, the shipping containers are going to be on top of that; those will serve as storage and there is going to be a steel roof,” Aviv said.
Although several students are eager for the expansion, others wonder what its goals are.
“Necessity; as the program has grown and more kids are fabricating, I was concerned about working outside and spray painting,” Aviv said. “It will add a level of safety and health. In the past, I have sent kids out to spray paint, but I want to have a real space for that.
“We will have a space for storage, long-term storage. Right now if we need a product, say you need some wood, we have to go to Home Depot. But if we have a storage space, we can buy enough for the year and it does not delay production.”
The E2 program has expanded in the past years, both with students and with the classrooms and workshops it has created, and at this point, there may not be many other places for the program to extend to.
“Every year or two there is another space we incorporate,” Aviv said.“I do not know of many more spaces we can take over. We have sort of found every corner, but who knows!”
E2 Seniors have been in the program since it was limited to a single room and understand how useful the expansion will be.
“An outdoor space for that type of work definitely sounds very exciting and I do think it could have enhanced my experience in the past years,” Liat Levine-Salem said. “I would have loved to be able to learn skills like staining and sanding, and create projects that incorporate them.”
Utilizing the Exospace for projects like woodworking, sanding and staining will be a great opportunity, but as we learn to live with COVID, it will also be an important asset to the E2 program to have an outdoor workshop and classroom.
“Woodworking is a super interesting skill,” senior Tia Ben-Yehoshua said “I love fabrication, but in the past, there was only an opportunity to do that type of fabrication if you were in the woodworking elective. I think if we had this outdoor space last year that would’ve been great because it is a way for kids to fabricate in a COVID friendly way.”
Not only will this new construction benefit E2; it will also become a new outdoor space for anyone in the school to use for learning and relaxing.
“It is an E2 space to do work, but when I saw the land we had cleared I thought, wait a minute, what about all that amazing space around the cement pad and shipping containers, because we have all that room to do what we want,” Aviv said. “Now imagine we think of it as not only the Exospace but the whole space as an outdoor classroom. So that is what this is all going to be; an outdoor classroom.”