NNM Innovates Campaign

To address our strategic opportunities and to continue to provide a truly exceptional educational experience, Near North will create a state-of-the-art building on the current playscape to house an Innovation Hub, as well as additional spaces for teaching, learning, meeting, and gathering. We will also relocate the Farmessori from Wood Street to the roof of the new building and the Bosworth lot. This will add an additional 25,000 square feet of garden and play space for our children. Both projects will allow our students to engage with STEAM learning in new, expansive, and creative ways.

In 2017, we launched the NNM Innovates Campaign to support this expansion. Since then, we have received gifts from every corner of the Near North Montessori School community, including alumni; current and former parents; faculty and staff; and friends. We’ve raised nearly $4.5 million—75% of our goal.

Thanks to Tereasa Surratt & David Hernandez for leveraging the production team at Ogilvy to edit this film.


How did the project originate?

In 2015, Near North Montessori embarked on a 5-year strategic school improvement plan. Two goals were added to the plan: align Montessori curriculum with lessons in STEAM fields of education and enhance both indoor and outdoor facilities to reflect the quality of NNM.

Originally, the plan was to build on the Bosworth Lot, which was purchased in 2016. However, after receiving feedback about the efficiency of space and cost, it was determined it was best to expand the existing building and connect the two spaces.

What will be in the new building?

On the first floor, the new addition will house a large welcoming reception area and lobby, a larger and brighter community room, and a chef’s kitchen for classes and demonstrations to the community.

The Innovation Studios will be housed on the 2nd floor in a large, open, and communal space. Here there will be an Arts and Textile Studio, a Tech Studio, two black boxes for video and sound production, a small theater space, and a woodworking zone.

The rooftop will be home to 5,000 extra square feet of Farmessori for lessons in sustainable and experimental growing methods. The proximity of the Farmessori to the classrooms will allow for easier access for our students and provide opportunities for spontaneous learning.

A new entrance on Division and larger lobby area will give the school a much desired heart that will improve access for families, yet offer increased security for the school.

Do you know what the building will look like?

It is our intention to have bright, open, and airy spaces created for our students. Plans continue to be finalized, but here are images of what the spaces could look like.

When is the expected completion date?

The project is expected to take 6 months from demo to completion. As of today, the expected date the building opens is September 2019.

What does this mean for the future of the school?

This expansion will transform how Near North serves its students by providing authentic learning laboratories to further engage in STEAM through the Innovation Hub and expanded opportunities at the Farmessori. Moving from real-world experiences into the real world, the adaptable skill set of these formative lessons provide a backdrop against which to ask even bigger questions and tackle more ambitious projects. It’s a future filled with exploration, taking risks, and forging exciting new paths.

How will this be funded?

Near North has an ambitious yet attainable goal of $6 million for this project. Reaching our goal will only be possible with the support of our entire community.

What will happen to the Bosworth Lot?

Today, the Bosworth Lot is home to our playscape, providing more room for our students to play than ever before. This will remain the children’s place of play for the next two school years. After that, NNM plans to convert all 20,800 square feet into green playspace and Farmessori. There will also be parking available for NNM parents and guests located on that lot.

How can my family be included?

There will be several opportunities to be involved in this exciting effort, including a future beam signing and celebration events. If you’re interested in learning more about how to make a financial commitment that is meaningful to your family, please reach out to Audrey Perrott or Sarah Cutrara.

What is the difference between the Annual Giving Campaign and the Capital Campaign?

Like virtually every independent school in the country, tuition at NNM does not cover the entire cost of educating each child. The Annual Giving Campaign raises money every year to help pay for the additional resources that make NNM such a special place. These dollars are used to support every aspect of the school — from the Farmessori and other outdoor learning opportunities to professional development for teachers and staff, the purchase of new technology and computers, new books for the library, and so much more.


“Near North Montessori invests its heart and soul into my children every day, and it is joyous and exciting to see our community come together to bring this new project to fruition. NNM students will have infinite opportunities to collaborate and bring their imaginative ideas to life.”

Jeannette Schar, Current Parent

“We’re very excited about the plans for the Innovation Lab. It’ll take Montessori independent learning and creativity to a whole new level”

Brad Suster and Tom Hernandez, Current Parents

“I can’t wait for the new building, especially the metal workshop. It is going to be awesome.”

Current Student


As we near the finish line, every gift matters. Please help us reach our $6 million goal by making a gift today! A gift of any kind will help complete the campaign with the support of the full community.