Pace Academy renovations include STEAM classrooms, soundproof music spaces and more

This article was written by Elizabeth Nouryeh-Clay for Northside Neighbor 

Pace Academy completed construction of its new Kam Memar Lower School, introducing new Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math classrooms, soundproof music areas and a new playground.

Pace held an open house and dedication to commemorate completion of the construction project, phase one of the school’s Accelerate Pace capital campaign that launched in March 2020 with a goal of $35 million. Construction on the 36,500-square-foot addition to the school’s existing Lower School classroom building began in early 2020. While the new Kam Memar Lower School welcomed students in Pre-First through fifth grade in October 2021, the recent events coincided with the school’s success in securing funds to complete the project.

Conceived by TVS and residential designer William T. Baker, the three-story Kam Memar Lower School accommodates Pace Academy’s growing program and curriculum needs while ensuring safety, security and accessibility. The building includes classrooms for STEAM and design; an expanded Academic Resource Center; soundproof spaces for music and strings programs; administrative offices and large meeting rooms; a gymnasium and “The World’s Greatest Playground.” In addition, Pace Academy renovated spaces within its Lower School classroom building, including the cafeteria and Soni Family Library.

Diana and Bijon Memar, current Pace Academy parents, contributed Accelerate Pace’s lead gift in memory of Bijon’s late brother, Kam Memar, founder of Medac. Sadly, Kam was killed in a car accident in 1998.

“Kam valued education and family above all else, and our experience at Pace has been unbelievable and reflects those values,” Bijon said. “Pace is one of the premier schools in the country and he would have been proud that his name is on the building.”

Under the leadership of Board of Trustees Chair Elizabeth Correll Richards, Pace parents Amy and Ronnie Agami, Taylor and Ronnie Brown, and Allyson and Jim Maske co-chaired the $35-million campaign to build the Kam Memar Lower School.

“The Kam Memar Lower School represents an incredible investment in our youngest learners,” Pace Head of School Fred Assaf said. “I am grateful to the Memar family, our Board of Trustees, donors to the Accelerate Pace campaign and the entire Pace community for their belief in the life-changing power of education. This building not only ensures that Pace continues to provide an unparalleled academic experience, it fosters the innovative instruction, creative exploration and sense of community that make our school a unique place to live and learn.”

In addition to TVS and William T. Baker and Associate, partners on the project included New South Construction, PlaySouth Playground Creators, UDS Development Services, the W. Paces/Northside Neighborhood Association and Neighborhood Planning Unit-A. A second phase of the Accelerate Pace campaign will raise funds to restore and renovate the school’s iconic “Castle,” constructed in 1931.