Performing Arts and Community Center
This is the most important and financially challenging capital project of the Delivering the Future campaign. A new performing arts building was identified as the most critical new facility needed on campus. The most obvious reason is clearly illustrated by comparing the excellence of the arts programs, faculty and students to the less-than-ideal facilities in which they currently work and learn. The second reason is a product of the school’s growth and success. Our student body has grown by nearly 33% in a decade, primarily in the Upper School which has increased by 200 students. There is no ideal meeting space large enough for the Upper School (or the other Divisions). Nor is there a venue large enough, or equipped properly for, audiences to enjoy guest speakers, visiting performers, Parents’ Association sponsored events or to enjoy our outstanding performing arts programs.
After exhaustive interviews and research, the site chosen for this theater/community center was that of the “old gym.” It offered a current footprint large enough to create a facility with all the amenities needed for theatrical performances, acoustics for choral and instrumental concerts, and ample seating for Divisional assemblies. It was also located at the campus entrance with plenty of nearby parking. The opportunity was there to create a beautiful, signature building equipped to serve the GSB community.
As a result of this chosen location, it created the need for a new Field House to replace the space and functions of the “old gym,” which included Middle and Lower School physical education and athletics, locker space, and a fitness center for Upper School students/athletes. With careful planning and the help of excellent architects it was determined that both facilities could be built for the same cost as the original plans for just a new PACC.
As the campaign began, Gill received an extraordinary opportunity from the F.M. Kirby Foundation, led by past parents Adrienne and Dillard Kirby, P’09, ’13. The Foundation offered a challenge to the community that, if fulfilled, could result in a grant totaling $1M in support of the Performing Arts and Community Center. The challenge, which required an additional $4.5M to be pledged or given to capital projects (PACC and Field House) during a finite period of time, was met and the school is the recipient of the grant from the Foundation. This extraordinary support from the Kirbys for our performing arts program, about which they were so passionate, vaulted the fundraising effort during the initial stages of the campaign. It was critical in being able to secure funding for the field house and our strong base of support for the PACC.
- Today -
As we enter the last year of our campaign we are able to celebrate our successes, while maintaining our focus on the final phase of the capital projects – completion of the Performing Arts and Community Center – and the ever-important growth of our endowment, of course.
The field house was completed in August of 2016 and the PACC broke ground over Spring Break 2017. The Board of Trustees has chosen Frankoski Construction Co. to build the new facility, and all that remains is to raise the balance of funds for the PACC.
To date, through the generosity of many families (trustees, past parents, current parents, foundations and alumni) $6.4M has been given or pledged specifically for the construction of the PACC. The total cost is estimated to be between $8M and $8.5M and the Board of Trustees committed to having no long term debt to complete the capital projects of the Delivering the Future campaign. The goal now before us is to raise, through gifts and pledges, the remaining balance of $2.1M by summer 2018.
The success of Gill St. Bernard’s has been due to the generosity and spirit of individuals and families who have understood that generations to come will benefit from what we do today. Support of the Performing Arts and Community Center honors those who have helped build the programs – faculty, staff and alumni – and bring the facilities to a level of excellence on par with the programs that exist today. In addition it will create a place that every Division, every student and every member of the GSB community can use and enjoy and provide greater educational opportunities for years to come.