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When Leigh Ann Schroeder was a student at Rivermont Collegiate, all of the students were relegated to the mansion. Now, in her 18th year of teaching at the private school, she’s setting up her history classroom in the new STEAM center, a 30,000-foot addition with classrooms, student dorms and faculty apartments. 

Schroeder — who is also the parent of an alum and a sophomore at the school — said the addition allows for more technology and resources.

As of a ribbon-cutting ceremony last month the third floor was locked off and the stairwells unfinished. 

But what’s complete is bright, big and spacious. 

“The rooms are so good,” said Hikmatullah Bahvamee, a 17-year-old junior and boarding student. “The common place is so nice.” 

Dorm parents live alongside the boarding students, Schroeder said. Laurie Elliott, who works with preschoolers, said the boarding component creates a very tight-knit community, even for students who don’t live on campus. 

“Even for our younger students, there’s a real sense of community,” she said, adding that older students have come into her classes to play with and talk to the school’s youngest students. 

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Schroeder also spoke to the close relationships. 

“We get to know every kid individually, and we know immediately if something is going on.” 

Devan Kimbrough, a 10-year-old fifth-grader, doesn’t live in the dorms, but he’s also excited about the addition, especially the new band room. 

“Before, it used to be pretty small,” said the young clarinetist. His twin sister also attends Rivermont. 

In addition to the band room, classrooms and dorms, the STEAM Center houses science and computer labs, student lounges and a maker space, with students already busy at work on Monday. 

“It is for you we have all been laboring, and it is for you this building is here,” Headmaster Max Roach said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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Quad-City Times education reporter.

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