Greenhill School announces the launch of the Growing Stronger Together campaign, the largest and most transformational campaign in the School’s 72-year history. The five-year, $71 million campaign will include the construction of a new STEM + Innovation Center, expanded and enhanced athletics facilities, and additional endowment. Nearly $45 million has been raised to date, including two gifts of $10 million dollars or more, one $5 million gift, and four gifts of $1 million.
“Our founders Helen and Bernard Fulton started Greenhill with an ambitious spirit and a vision of pursuing excellence in every area of school life. We change and grow as we strive to realize that vision each day,” said Head of School Lee Hark. “This new STEM facility will help our students become innovators, entrepreneurs, collaborators, and problem solvers, as they pursue exiting new pathways in science, technology, engineering and math. And the updated athletics facilities will help us meet the needs of the modern student-athlete.”
“Greenhill has always been committed to academics, arts, and athletics. The Growing Stronger Together Campaign will strengthen and bolster our academic program in the STEM subjects and better support our student-athletes,” shared Augusto Sasso, Chair of the Board of Trustees and parent of two Greenhill alumni.
A groundbreaking ceremony held on the site of the future STEM + Innovation Center marked the official campaign launch. During the ceremony, the school acknowledged the tremendous community support early in the campaign, noting three transformational gifts.
In recognition of their generous support of the campaign, Rochelle and David Fredston, parents of a second and fourth grader, sat on stage as the community learned that the Head of School position was being named in their honor. “The Fredstons have been strong believers in Greenhill’s mission to prepare students to lead authentic, purposeful lives since they joined our community. In gratitude for their tremendous generosity, I am honored to share that the Head of School position will now be named The David and Rochelle Fredston Head of School,” shared Hark.
“Greenhill has become a second home for our family, and we believe that the school has an incredible future ahead. We are proud and deeply humbled to have our name associated with the Head of School position,” shared David Fredston.
Hark then announced that the next significant gift came from a family with a long history at the School.
“The next gift is particularly meaningful because of the tremendous generosity and leadership of this family through the years, most notably in our last capital campaign. It is an incredible honor to have their support and endorsement of Growing Stronger Together,” said Hark. “The central commons space in the new building will be known as the Marshall Family Commons in recognition of the continued commitment of Marshall family.”
“The Greenhill community has had a profound impact on my life,” said E. Pierce Marshall, Jr. ’86 after the ceremony. “The School played a pivotal role in shaping my successes, both personally and professionally. When we learned about how transformative the new STEM and Innovation Building would be for our students for generations to come, and recognized the need to have a facility that would evolve with an ever-changing world, supporting the campaign was an easy decision.”
At the end of the ceremony, Hark welcomed to the podium Dr. Ralph de la Torre, parent of two seventh graders. He shared that the de la Torre Family Foundation’s early generosity had catalyzed support for the new STEM + Innovation Center and the campaign in general.
“The de la Torre family believes in the transformative power of an education, and they are deeply committed to Greenhill,” shared Hark. “I am thrilled to announce today that the name of our new STEM building will be the Valdes STEM + Innovation Center, in honor of Ralph de la Torre’s mother.”
“My mother, Rosa Olimpia Valdes, was the inspiration behind my career,” shared de la Torre. “She was raised in an orphanage in Cuba, put herself through nursing school, and fled to the United States during the Cuban Revolution. I owe everything to her and her strength, and I am so proud that a building dedicated to STEM and innovation will be named after her.”
The focal points of the campaign flow directly from the School’s Growing Stronger Together Strategic Plan, which launched in early 2021.
Designed by the award-winning architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ), the new Valdes STEM + Innovation Center will be located on the site of the former Agnich Science Building. With 52,000 square feet, the facility will serve as the home to the math and science departments and a newly created innovation program for grades 5-12. It will include an innovation corridor with collaboration space, a production studio, and fabrication lab, computer science flex pods, and robotics labs, in addition to fully flexible math and science classrooms, a large central commons and coffee shop, and community gathering spaces.
“One of our goals as we designed the building was to create a sense of transparency, so that learning was on display, and to have it feel bright and open,” said Daniel Lee with BCJ. “To help accomplish that goal, we included an interior courtyard that allows natural light to filter through both floors and interior spaces. Architecturally, the courtyard is also a nod to its predecessor, the Agnich Science Building, which was originally designed by O’Neil Ford with a large open courtyard as the center of the building.”
The STEM + Innovation Center also includes gathering spaces and collaborative learning areas that will create important relationships between departments and divisions, foster teamwork, and build greater connections among families.
In conjunction with the building construction, the School also announced the launch of the Innovation + Design Lab at Greenhill School. Led by Director of Innovation Matthew Abbondanzio, an engineer and designer with over 25 years of professional experience, the Innovation program and curriculum will teach students human-centered design and professional engineering skills while performing work for industry clients. The program will be housed in the innovation corridor where flexible spaces will be equipped with the latest technology and tools to support students learning.
Athletics facilities upgrades plan to include the construction of a covered practice facility, a new stadium complex and high performance center, and updated locker rooms.
“These new facilities would provide a sense of pride for our athletes and offer space for our programs to grow. They will be a motivating factor for our athletes, and create a legacy for our school,” shared Head of Athletics and Physical Education Jarrett Shine.
The Greenhill Board of Trustees is leading this initiative and has generously supported the effort in both time and resources. The Valdes STEM + Innovation Center is anticipated to open in August 2023. Work on the athletics enhancements will begin in Spring 2022, with various competition dates over the next few years.
“From our own experiences as Greenhill parents, and those of our daughters, I have seen the transformative power of both a strong STEM education and being part of a competitive athletic team,” said Campaign Steering Committee Chair Michelle McKinney Frymire. “This campaign will benefit students now and for generations to come.”
For more information on how to participate in the campaign, visit www.greenhill.org/growingstronger or contact Aaron White, Chief Development Officer, at 972-628-5682.
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