Science, Technology & Innovation Facilities

As Pittsburgh is moving the world forward in technology, healthcare, software and energy, Shady Side Academy is fully embracing the possibilities of science, technology and innovation with new and renovated facilities across its campuses.

McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation

McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation

The McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation opened in May 2018 as the stunning new home of the SSA Senior School Science Department.


  • Cornerstone of a new academic quad with McCune Library, Hunt Hall and Rowe Hall
  • 10 flexible classroom/lab spaces for physics, biology and chemistry featuring college-level lab equipment
  • Larger, more responsive spaces for research, collaboration and independent study
  • Special project room adjacent to faculty offices, separated by a glass partition, giving students supervised access to research space throughout the school day
  • Gold LEED certified "green" building with sustainable features that reduce environmental impact while creating teaching opportunities, such as a rooftop solar array and monitoring system, and a rain garden to collect storm runoff.
  • Outdoor amphitheater provides an ideal interdisciplinary space for classes, performances and guest lectures
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Dedication Ceremony: May 18, 2018

Shady Side Academy officially dedicated the McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation with an afternoon ceremony and reception on Friday, May 18, 2018. The ceremony began with remarks from Academy President Tom Cangiano, Jeff McIlroy '86 (on behalf of his parents, Peter '61 and Pam McIlroy, and family), Campaign for Shady Side Co-Chairs Lou Plung '80 and Rob Mullin '93, and Board of Trustees Chair Mike Hannon '74 and Chair-Elect Jon Kamin '91. Then, the ribbon was officially cut by Jeff McIlroy and Bruce Wiegand '65, alongside their wives, Erica and Barbara, as well as Robert and Megan Glimcher, Cangiano, Hannon and Kamin. A festive reception followed inside, including student-led tours of the building.

Dedication Video

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Glimcher Tech & Design Hub

glimcher Tech & design hub

Now that the Senior School Science Department has moved to the new McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation, the lower level of Rowe and Memorial Halls are being renovated to create the Glimcher Tech and Design Hub, which will include spacious computer labs, a modern fabrication space and robotics arena, and café. This final phase of our science, technology and innovation facilities initiative will complete SSA's new academic quad.

Technology and Maker Space Renovation - Exterior

Fabrication & Robotics Wing

Fabrication & Robotics Wing

Students will delve into automation, experiment with concepts and engineer solutions in this dedicated fabrication and robotics wing. It will house a variety of learning and creation spaces including:

  • Fabrication Lab
  • Robotics Arena
  • Fully-Equipped Workshop
  • Wet Lab
  • Meeting Room
  • Faculty Offices

Computer Science Wing

Computer Science Wing

As the new home of the Senior School Computer Science Department, this wing will finally give students and teachers a modern, dedicated technology space, including:

  • Two Spacious Computer Lab/Classrooms
  • Collaboration Room
  • Faculty Offices
Cafe & Community Space

Cafe & Community Space

Students will access the technology and maker spaces through an all-new entrance to Rowe Hall, located along the campus drive across from the McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation. Directly inside the new entrance will be a café and community space, designed as an innovative place for students and members of the community to gather, socialize and connect.

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Junior & Middle School Science Labs

Junior School Science Labs

In summer 2015, the Junior School's lone 1,900-square-foot science classroom/lab was renovated and expanded into a 3,000-square-foot suite of five new labs, including early elementary (K-2) and upper elementary (3-5) labs, plus an ecosystem lab, science idea lab, and robotics and maker space. The labs feature age-appropriate, moveable furniture, sinks, SMART Boards and storage for student projects. Windows and glass partitions between the labs flood the space with natural light and allow young scientists to see what's happening in adjacent labs.

The robotics and maker space has enabled the school to bring its popular after-school robotics program into the curriculum: K-2 students are introduced to robotics using Lego WeDo kits, while students in grades 3-5 learn to program robots using Lego Mindstorms NXT kits. The ecosystem lab allows students to engage in ecology projects year-round, enhancing existing units in botany and farming. The science idea lab provides a comfortable space for students to explore scientific ideas and record lab observations using iPads and laptops.

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Middle School Science Labs

The Middle School's three science classroom/labs were renovated in 2014 and 2016 to better support the school's interactive, collaborative and project-oriented approach to teaching science.

In summer 2014, upgrades to the sixth and eighth grade labs created more flexible spaces with new moveable workstations and chairs, casework, sinks, flooring, ceilings, paint and LED lighting. iPad storage units in both labs support the integration of technology into the classroom through the school's 1: 1 iPad program. The eighth grade lab has iPad docking stations on the lab tables, plus a kitchenette and storage area.

The seventh grade lab was renovated in summer 2016, expanding its footprint by 50 percent by capturing additional square footage from an adjacent hallway, as well as an atrium that was transformed into a greenhouse space. The lab received new moveable workstations and chairs, teacher podium with demonstration table and sink, casework with four student sinks, flooring, ceiling, paint and LED lighting. The room also includes built-in spaces for the cages and tanks that are home to class animals including chinchillas, rabbits, guinea pigs, a lizard and fish.

The upgraded labs not only support science classes during the school day, but also the school's robotics, rocketry and state championship Science Olympiad teams, which use the labs at the end of the day and on weekends.