Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we building a new building? Who was involved in long range planning?
Over the past three years, the Board of Trustees completed a comprehensive strategic plan which included the development of a new campus design. Two realities emerged from the process:
- The School’s strategic growth plans are not feasible within the current facilities footprint shared with First Presbyterian Church.
- These same facilities cannot accommodate the innovative teaching methods of the School.
Gensler was engaged to conduct a comprehensive analysis of current and future space needs for the School. Parents, faculty and staff provided significant input. A new campus master plan was developed to address the critical needs and facilities issues.
What elements are in the master plan?
At an estimated cost of $25 million, this plan will:
- Design and build a 46,000 square foot building on Oakdale to house the Center for Primary Learning and Lower School students (Beta through 5th grade)
- Fully renovate the Middle School (Grades 6th - 8th)
- Expand and develop outdoor play areas for Primary and Lower School students
- Add new learning, gallery, and performance spaces to support the Fine Arts programs
- Develop space for ancillary programs
- Increase the School’s reserve funds to ensure the new building will be maintained properly over time
How will we pay for the new building and Middle School improvements?
The Make Room for the Future capital campaign has been launched to fund the implementation of the master plan. The School’s leadership has developed a conservative, detailed financial plan demonstrating that we can raise a minimum of $18 million through the capital campaign, and if needed, we can borrow up to $7 million in low-interest, long-term financing that can be repaid with minimal impact on the operating budget. If we surpass the $18 million fundraising mark, we will be delighted to borrow less, so the campaign will continue until we have raised as much of the $25 million as possible.
How will the project be implemented?
The new building construction and renovation will be implemented in two phases over several years. The first phase will construct the Center for Primary Learning and Lower School. Once this new building is complete, the second phase will begin as the Middle School will be renovated and enlarged to allow students in Grade 6 to 8 to fully engage in more collaborative and integrated learning. STEAM initiatives will be expanded to promote critical and creative thinking.
When was the last campaign?
Since the school’s founding, there have been two highly successful campaigns. The first campaign was to build the Middle School in Lancaster Center. The most recent campaign, The Great Outdoors, raised $6.5 million to build the Outdoor Education Campus. It was completed in 2008. Presbyterian School is truly in a position of institutional strength because of these previous campaigns and the community’s endorsement of the mission and vision of our school.
Who is leading the campaign?
The campaign co-chairs are Andi and Jonas Georgsson and Cathleen and Patrick Trask. They are supported by an outstanding campaign committee representing current parents, in addition to Headmaster Dr. Mark Carleton and Presbyterian’s Philanthropy Office led by Ashlea Taylor.
Do we own the land?
The land is currently owned by First Presbyterian Church. The School has entered into a long-term lease (95 years) with the Church on extremely favorable terms.
How do I make a campaign commitment? Can I pay my gift over several years?
Commitments to the campaign may be paid in several ways. Outright gifts are greatly appreciated, however, many of our donors prefer to pledge a gift to be paid off in regular increments over five years. Long-term, appreciated securities (such as stocks, bonds or mutual fund shares) can be used as a gift and offer potential tax benefits to the donor. You can also double or even triple the amount of your donation if your employer provides matching gifts. Please contact Ashlea Taylor, Head of Institutional Philanthropy at 713.620.6562 for additional details regarding procedures for making a transfer of securities and possible corporate matching gifts.
What funds will be used to pay for the new building and renovations?
Funds raised from the Make Room for the Future Capital Campaign will support the construction of the new building and Middle School renovations. These are true capital dollars and will be used exclusively to implement this historic campus master plan. Please know that Annual Fund and special event funds (like from the Gala) are directed to the ongoing, annual operations of the School. We rely on our Annual Fund and Special Events to provide additional opportunities for our students and faculty as well as critical resources that are not covered by tuition. A capital campaign is truly a rare moment and only happens when we have a serious facility need or transformative opportunity. This campaign will address our current space needs and ongoing facilities challenges.
When does construction start?
Based on the construction permitting progress, we expect to begin work on the Center for Primary Learning and Lower School in late spring. Construction is expected to last 15 months, weather permitting. The new building should be complete by the Fall 2019 and the Middle School renovations will begin soon thereafter. The renovation is expected to take 6 - 8 months.