The Centre for Innovation and Learning

Our Vision

Brentwood will set the standard globally for inspirational and transformative learning. A vision is aspirational and directional. It provides a beacon of light, or a torch, that illuminates our journey of learning. Though we may never arrive at this destination, we will continuously strive to get there.

The Path Forward

March 21, 2022

Dear Brentwood Community,                                                                             

We are excited to share the next project driven by our Strategic Plan – Setting the Standard. For the last 25 years, Brentwood’s thoughtful process in the development of our campus master plan and the continual improvement of our facilities has been anchored by our philosophy that programs must precede the creation of new facilities.

After nearly three years of COVID-interrupted planning, we are pleased to announce that on March 4, 2022, our Board of Governors approved the construction of the Centre for Innovation and Learning.

Like our approach to boarding, arts, and athletics, our academic pillar has been grounded in being an ‘and’ school. Rather than pitting one program against the other, our “can-do” approach looks for win-win pathways to create more opportunities for discovery.

Over the past 20 years, we have strategically addressed needs in boarding—Rogers House (1999), the Maeda Health Centre (2002), Allard House (2006), Art & Mary Jane Crooks (Dining) Hall (2010), Hope House (2015); the arts—T. Gil Bunch Centre for Performing Arts (2003) and the Centre for Arts & Humanities (2012); and, most recently, athletics—the Eldon & Anne Foote Athletic Centre (2018). This next phase of our campus renewal aligns with our focus on providing the best possible learning experience for our students by resourcing our academics programs.

In our programming we continue to develop and value:

Breadth AND Depth;
Inclusion AND Excellence; and,
Personalization AND Community.

Over the past seven years, we have added a dozen new academic course offerings, from Advanced Topics in Math to Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE), and integrated a number of others—e.g., Metamorphosis 9. We have also increased our support for our faculty by creating a Director of Teaching & Learning role that focuses on improving pedagogical practice and supporting continuous improvement. The Centre for Innovation and Learning is an extension of that support and will allow us to expand our portfolio of academic offerings by a further 36 course offerings.

The 72,000 sq. ft, West Coast-inspired building will occupy the previous footprint of the Ross Building on the waterfront and includes many inspiring features, including:

- Learning Neighbourhoods
- Science Superlab
- Learning Commons
- Learning Centre
- Collaborative Atrium Space
- Rowing/Outdoor Pursuits Boathouse
- Meeting Pods
- Waterfront Learning Spaces
- Administration Offices
- University Counselling
- Ocean Geothermal Energy System

As this project is scheduled to be completed by August 2024, we have created a transition plan that leverages our existing spaces to minimize the impact to our student experience. These spaces include our repurposed former gymnasium, the Woodward Sportsplex, the Multipurpose Rooms in the Foote Centre, as well as arts spaces in the Centre for Arts & Humanities.

Dreams can never become reality without the leadership, generosity, and belief of our donors. Our entire School community is excited by this monumental step forward and we would like to thank and acknowledge the fundraising support we have had from the Brentwood family. We are grateful and humbled by their gifts to future generations of Brentonians and fundraising for the new Centre for Innovation and Learning. This is truly a de manu in manum moment.

We are not done yet, however, as fundraising for the Centre for Innovation and Learning will continue throughout our construction phase. Should you have any questions, please contact Mr. Ian McPherson, Director of Advancement -

Inspirational Transformative Learning

Disruptive technology, changing parenting styles, and unprecedented global competition provides the coming generation of learners with a challenge they have never seen before. As experiences are increasingly “virtualized”, more than ever our world needs leaders that are both well-rounded and well-grounded. We have doubled down on the notion of community, collaboration, and engagement—all of it with the unique authenticity of the Brentwood experience. Since our founding in 1923, Brentwood has mindfully and diligently created a transformative experience for all students. Rooted in the past and reaching for the future.

Today, Brentwood is on the precipice of a bold future of delivering the finest possible learning experience that will inculcate timeless competencies enabling our graduates to not just survive but to thrive in an ever-changing world. Our development has never been to follow trendy flashes in the sky but is grounded in a strategic approach—with programs proceeding facilities. From the T. Gil Bunch Centre for Performing Arts to Art and Mary Jane Crooks Hall to the Eldon and Anne Foote Athletic Centre, our campus continues to be transformed to an exceptional level – the Brentwood Standard.

As we embark on the next phase of our campus renewal plan, the jewel in our crown expands onto the horizon. A state-of-the-art academics and water sports centre that will anchor our oceanfront campus. It will enhance our current drive for academic excellence—where students are experiencing a wide variety of instructional and assessment practices. Like boarding, arts, and athletics, inspiring space always elevates the learning experience and this possibility is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I want my students to not only do well at Brentwood but—more importantly—to go out and solve the world’s problems. And those problems are big, messy, and complex. I want my students to come back in five or ten years and say, Brentwood set me up to do these great things.

So, how do we set them up to do great things? We need to value them not just as students and learners but as thinkers and innovators. We need to give them a space to set their own challenges, make lots of mistakes, talk to a wide range of people, and push themselves beyond what any syllabus, test, or university application asks of them.

I see a building that smashes any preconceptions about mathematics; where students who “hate math”, but love art, walk in and realize they’ve loved math all along

I want students to say, "I didn’t realize what was possible until I came to Brentwood".

Phil Smith

Rooted & Reaching

The vision articulated by our founders has been stewarded to great effect by visionary boards and school leadership. In 2013, the School launched the 2013-23 Strategic Plan—Setting the Standard. This plan continues to drive an inspiring and immersive process of reflection, planning, and ultimately, advancement. It has been instrumental in building on the literal and philosophical foundations laid by generations of Brentonians.

Educational research tells us that students need to make sense of the world and the world is not commonly broken into discrete subjects. We are looking to blur the lines of disciplines, where it makes sense to do so.

Global thinkers are problem solvers. We need to create spaces where complex problems can be examined from different perspectives.

We need spaces where students feel empowered to generate ideas and are eager to enter because they feel as if something great can happen there. This does not mean that ideas can only happen in these spaces. This is, however, an opportunity to create them. We need the ability to be flexible and move from large group to small group, from thinking about design to making and doing, and from making and doing to presenting for feedback. The collaborative process is alive and well at Brentwood; now, we have the opportunity to support this with the spaces that encourage it.

Cheryl Murtland

Building on Success

We have all benefited from the continual revitalization the School has seen since re-founding in 1961. Our campus master plan has been the positive catalyst for thoughtfully progressive development and growth at Brentwood. This has encompassed not only the blossoming of our physical plant but, in lock-step, has fostered and driven a broader development program addressing programming, professional development, enrichment of boarding, and staff support programs.

Resourcing of programs has included a focus on the lives of our students with the building of Crooks Hall, major house upgrades and a new Hope House, an eye to the arts programs with both the T. Gil Bunch Centre for the Performing Arts and the Centre for Arts & Humanities building, and—most recently—our athletics with the Foote Athletic Centre. Our drive now is to elevate and broaden our academic programs and our teaching impact—as we have done with the other new facilities we have built.

Leading education is driving towards a student-centered approach to teaching and learning, where the main role of the teacher is as facilitator of learning, not at the center of
the learning.

In this sense, flexibility of classroom arrangement and flexible multi-purpose rooms provide the ideal stage for modern pedagogies that have the students as the main actors in their learning experience. Furthermore, current educational and neuroscience research shows us that parameters such as light, temperature, sound, ceiling height, and even ceiling curvature, impact the learning process.

Matching current teachers’ efforts in innovative pedagogies with suitable learning spaces will make it possible for Brentwood to continue setting the standard globally for inspirational and transformative learning.

Giselle Lawrence

Inspiration Lives Here

This next phase in the development and evolution of the campus and student experience is compelling for all the right reasons. It is driven by the Brentwood Standard. It continues to be rooted in the past but reaching for the future, as by design we accelerate the school learning experience.

To further deliver on the promise of a Brentwood education, we are moving to embrace our vision through our academics. As the world changes, so does education. We know that learning is affected by spaces. We have the opportunity to take full advantage of a truly inspiring setting.


The new facility will be an alchemy of design. Aspirational and inspirational in intention and functionality—ultimately, it will set the standard we seek for our pedagogy. The academic learning spaces will be designed to centre around adaptability, allowing for the changing nature of education, collaboration, and creativity while leveraging our peerless natural surroundings with an aim to provide for future needs of the School. This building will encourage student interaction and a modern approach to problem-solving in an environmentally forward-thinking design.

Impacts That Last a Lifetime

The impact of this initiative will be immediate. It will provide world-class science and technology facilities to enable students more access to inquiry-based learning that leads to addressing real-world problems. It will allow us to leverage our unique connection to the marine/environmental sciences through our singular location, an enviro-friendly design, and ready access to outdoor experiences. New opportunities will exist for faculty and students in the pursuit of marine studies within a broadening group of interdisciplinary studies while developing more project-based learning as well as design thinking.

This type of opportunity comes along very rarely in an architect’s career and our firm is thrilled to be given this chance to design a building that will showcase the future of learning. We have been working with educators across Canada for over 30 years, creating exceptional learning environments for students from elementary to university age.

We believe that well-designed educational spaces can inspire and ignite the student imagination.
As architects, we are motivated to play our part, by producing a design that respects this oceanfront location and gives the chance for educators and students to be the best that they can be. In this way, this project is a major investment and legacy for Brentwood and will set the tone of how the School is seen across the world. We look forward to playing our part in the project success.

Stuart Rothnie
HCMA Architecture + Design

Growing a Campus

As we move towards the Brentwood Centenary in 2023/24, we are excited to break ground for this transformative facility as a key event to celebrate this special milestone.

For more information please contact Ian McPherson at

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