This means when you arrive for the Charlie David Dinner on Friday, you can stroll down the 20-foot-wide pathway (required to accommodate emergency vehicles) and get up-close views of the mobile classroom units and utility reconfiguration work in the courtyard as well as the new brick wall that shows how far the dining hall will extend once completed for next school year.
“The mobile classrooms will not be in place but some of the units will have been delivered by then,” said Doug Bennett, the school’s director of facilities and grounds. “Right now there’s a pair of units here that will be constructed into one mobile classroom, and another pair will arrive on Monday. We could have all four pairs on site by the end of next week.”
Another area that is visibly progressing quickly is the upper school wing that will connect Dennett Hall to the east side of Academy Hall. It was quite a sight to watch a construction crane extending over 150 feet tall transporting 1,500-pound steel beams one by one over Academy Drive so they could be riveted into the structure that will become the new College Counseling suite and global-themed area for foreign languages.
With work on the roof of the upper school wing possibly starting later this month, we thought this was an opportune time to ask Assistant Head of School for Development and External Relations Erich Hunker a few questions about The New Quest campaign that is funding these improvements. The New Quest campaign seeks to raise $20 million: $10 million dedicated to the construction of new and renovated facilities and $10 million to go into the school’s endowment in support of financial aid as well as professional development and compensation of the faculty.
How is the construction phase going so far?
“The arrival of steel in and around the construction sites is a sure signal that things are progressing quickly. Brick is starting to be attached to cinder block walls, and the backhoes and trucks are moving dirt around so quickly that as one big hill disappears, another pops up. All of this is exciting and means that construction is going well and on schedule.”
How close is the school to raising the necessary funds for these projects?
“Hidden – proverbially – under the dirt, concrete, brick and steel is a hole of $500,000 which represents what is still needed to be raised to complete The New Quest capital campaign paying for all of the work on campus. A little more than $19.5 million has been raised from parents, alumni, grandparents, faculty and staff and other friends of the school toward the campaign’s $20 million goal.”
Will the school take on any debt?
“The Board of Trustees and school leadership took a calculated ‘leap of faith’ that our community would collectively get us to the $20 million goal, while taking advantage of very low interest rates for bonds and borrowing. In addition to the $10 million of the campaign dedicated to facilities and construction, another $5 million has been borrowed to complete all of the additions and renovations. This debt is to be paid off over time.”
How are Academy parents playing a role in these improvements?
“All parents who were part of the school community last year have been asked to support the campaign. Letters and brochures were sent in the mail, complete with a pledge card and return envelope. With $500,000 left to raise, support from each and every parent household is still very much needed, and those dollars will be put to immediate use for construction and will lessen the school’s burden to borrow as construction continues.”
If families still want to participate, when should they contribute?
“Our incredible campus is improving and expanding for our children’s education on top of a foundation of academic excellence that was secured by those who came before us. If you have not yet given or pledged, now is the time.”
What is the best way to make a contribution?
“For more information about how you can make your gift or pledge, please contact me at:
Erich Hunker ’81, P ’16 ‘20
Assistant Head of School, Development/External Relations
Or, you can go online to columbusacademy.org/TheNewQuest.”
Stay tuned to this blog… much more to come, including an interview with new Board of Trustees president Kevin Reeves!