The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

How to build a science lab: The Bonnie Johnson Hall

Gianna Darden
The Bonnie Johnson Hall stands as the latest addition to Webb’s campus, containing modern technology and an underground storage space allotted to storing fossilized tracks. This addition was gifted to Webb by donors and is a result of a lengthy yet rewarding construction process.

“When I was 25 years old, my grandmother got really sick really quick, but I told her at some point I’m going to do well in life, and put her name on a building,” said Blake Johnson (‘95), lead donor of the newly constructed Bonnie Johnson Hall.     

Webb alum, Mr. Johnson, brought this vow to his long-time friend Taylor Stockdale, former Head of Schools. It took 15 years to accumulate enough wealth to support this seven-figure gift, but it kickstarted the lab’s production.   

The ideation process of this lab started years ago and was modeled after the McCain and Thornton labs.  

“We went to other schools, universities, high schools and we did a lot of research to look at what we wanted a lab to be. Webb wanted to have a classroom and lab space all-in-one,” said Dr. Theresa Smith, Head of Schools.   

Throughout this project’s conception phase, Michael Hoe, Assistant Head of Schools, and Lisa Nacionales, Chair of the Science Department, were in conceptual discussions, as they had a deeper understanding of how science would be applied.    

“STEM education is a big piece of Webb’s curricular strategy, and we wanted to have these facilities to support the program,” said Bob Fass, Chief Advancement Officer.    

After the idea was conceptualized, the advancement team developed a budget and Mr. Fass sought funds from the Webb community. 

“We’re in touch with a whole alumni community; there’s about 5,000 of them all around the world, and our goal is to keep them engaged in the school,” shared Mr. Fass.    

As for the construction aspect of this lab, Janet Peddy, the Director of Finance Planning and Operations, organized the entire project, working with the construction and design team.   

“We have a project manager who helps connect us with necessary people. The architecture firm also has specialists in things like making sure the space is ADA accessible, knowing the latest codes, and the necessary building regulations to ensure a safe lab design,” said Dr. Smith.    

Trust played a pivotal role in this process, with the Webb community’s collective efforts establishing this lab as a representation of Webb’s unity. It’s heartwarming that a lab designed to further Webb students’ education was gifted by a former Webb student out of honor and gratitude.  

“Webb taught me a lot of things like the honor code, to honor your commitments, and I made this commitment,” said Mr. Johnson.  

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Gianna Darden
Gianna Darden, Staff Writer
Gianna Darden (‘26), exudes the charm and radiant smile of a bunny. Although friends may compare Gianna to a bunny, she embodies more traits of an owl. Not only are owls Gianna’s favorite animal, but they guide her star sign, Sagittarius. Sagittarius are most known for being ambitious and passionate. Gianna demonstrates these traits through her dedication to women's rights. In fact, she is driven to make a change in feminine products being affordable for everyone. According to Sagittarius Traits, Sagittarius are also known for “cherishing family ties.” Gianna's closeness with her family enabled her to adopt her passion for women's rights. One of Gianna's favorite activities is eating dinner with her family and discussing controversial topics, like choosing DC over Marvel. Gianna also enjoys being in nature. Like owls, Gianna relishes being surrounded by nature. According to Sagittarius Spirit Animals owls are known for being “clear-sighted and having a different view of the world.” This year, Gianna hopes to bring different perspectives to the Webb Canyon Chronicle to discuss important, controversial, and funny topics with the Webb Community.  Favorite Song: "Baby Doll" by Dominic Fike

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