Posted: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 – 2:57 PM
The Archer School for Girls celebrated the groundbreaking of its Campus Master Plan, at an event that included addresses from Archer’s Head of School Elizabeth English, Craig Allen Jameson, principal, design director at Parallax Architects and Archer’s Board Chair Frank Marshall.
“Thanks to Archer’s early and passionate supporters, the iconic Eastern Star Home for Women became the school’s permanent home in 1999,” English said. “Being the steward of one of L.A.’s most
stunning, historic buildings is a responsibility Archer takes seriously. Inspired by the myth of Artemis, the Archer, protector of girls and goddess of the hunt, our architects at Parallax and Associates designed Archer’s campus plan around the concept of the ‘urban forest.’ While the design provides an elegant counterpart to our cherished historic building, it also signals to our students and our community that the empowerment of girls and women is critically important work for Los Angeles, our nation and the world.”
Archer was founded in 1995 by Diana Meehan, Meghan Callaway, and Vicky Shorr, who felt strongly that West Los Angeles should not be without a girls’ school. The first class of 33 girls at the initial
Pacific Palisades campus became the first west of the Mississippi in 25 years. The school now enrolls nearly 500 students: 39 percent of the student body are students of color and come
from 81 different zip codes and 155 different feeder schools. Nearly $4 million in financial aid is awarded annually.
In August 2015, after four years of public engagement and review process, the L.A. City Council unanimously approved The Archer School for Girls’ Campus Preservation and Improvement Plan. Construction of the new Academic Center began in December, and once completed will feature 30,000 square feet of flexible and light-filled spaces that offer a wide variety of learning opportunities both indoors and
Archer’s main campus building was originally built in 1931 as the Eastern Star Home. Today, it is a registered Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. In the mid 1950s a two-story addition was made to the original building to provide assisted living facilities for its residents. The new Academic Center will replace this non-historic addition with all-new instructional spaces specifically designed for educating young women.
“Not only will the new Academic Center deliver an exceptional learning environment, its architecture provides a graceful transition from past to present with a design closely compatible with the historic building yet boldly contemporary in character and spirit,” Jameson said.
The school’s mission of developing strong female leadership remains as crucial as ever. Only 5 pecent of Fortune 500 CEOs and only 21 percent of the U.S. Senate are women, according to Pew Research. The gap remains definitively real as women are losing ground at the highest levels of leadership. The National Coalition of Girls Schools reports that while less than 1 percent of women are girls school graduates, girls school alumnae have comprised up to 25 percent of the female members of Congress, hold one-third of Fortune 500 board member seats, and account for 69 percent of female heads of state worldwide.
A year after opening the Saban IDEAlab, a team of Archer students became only one of 14 schools selected nationwide to receive a grant from Lemelson MIT for its faucet-mounted drought meter invention. Similarly, the MediaSpace has facilitated development of student-led events including the Archer Film Festival, which earlier in the year received more than 800 submissions from
around the world and featured Kathleen Kennedy as its keynote speaker.