Dear Greenspring Families,
As it takes off, we have important news to share with you about the project to renovate our beautiful campus!
The project has been aptly christened Great Foundation•Great Future. As we enter the project’s formative stages, we would like to update the community on what has transpired and what lies ahead.
We are hosting a“Project Design Update and Dialogue” on August 6 from 4:30 – 7:00pm. (More details on this event to follow…) If we don’t see you there – not to worry! We’ll keep you posted. For now, please take a minute to hear what has been happening to date:
Great Foundation•Great Future: A Primer
While some of you who were able to attend one of the Community Meetings held in May know a bit more than others about the project and its guiding rationale, it is important that everyone is familiar with the school’s underlying motivation for taking on such an ambitious plan.
Simply stated: GMS has a solid foundation, yet is committed to strengthening its capacity to serve our children and our community. As such, our historic and beloved, but aging, facilities must be updated, perfected, and expanded. We need to tailor this campus, which initially grew out of buildings not intended for our cause, to prepare our overarching environment for our Montessori mission to meet the needs of the children and adolescents.
Toward that end, in June the Board of Trustees voted to undertake a Capital Project and Capital Campaign designed to improve significantly the quality of our campus infrastructure and, more importantly, the quality of the Greenspring experience for every member of the community. The Board voted to bring on Capital Campaign Project Coordinator, Kevin Campbell, to support the project through the next two years – both as a project manager and to support the capital campaign.
- The project’s overarching goal is to provide new, healthy, and inspiring environments for our Toddler, Children’s House, and Elementary communities, as well as faculty and staff.
- The project will be accomplished in two highly synchronized phases to include a combination of renovation and new construction involving the Main, Multi-Purpose, and Friedberg buildings.
- The project’s unifying element is the desire to create self-contained “Houses” for each program level designed to provide developmentally respectful and responsive, prepared environments for every child within a community of peers.
Great Foundation•Great Future: Scope, Timing, Cost
Attending to the inherently integrated nature of the project—how each part must serve the best interests of the whole community—is a central focus of the planning process.
The desire has been to devise an overarching plan that, on one hand, minimizes campus impact, the number of student transitions, and the overall length and expense of construction, while, on the other hand, maximizes project outcomes by creating safe, healthy, cost effective, and eco-friendly spaces—indoor and out—in relation to size, scale, order, and flow. While we can never know exactly what challenges a project will uncover, the concept plan is as follows:
- To best accommodate enrollment size and developmental requirements at each program level, among many other considerations,
- the Main Building will be reconstructed for use as the “Children’s House” and administrative offices
- a large portion of the Multi-Purpose Building will be renovated to serve as the “Elementary House”
- a modest addition will adjoin the Friedberg Building for use as the “Toddler House”
- The currently estimated cost to complete all of the project elements is approximately $5.5 – $6.0 million.
- Subject to obtaining all of the necessary approvals in a timely manner, Phase I—the Toddler and Elementary Houses—is scheduled to be completed by August 2015 and Phase II—the Children’s House—by August 2016.
Great Foundation•Great Future: Next Steps
- As of July 1, GMS has engaged the services of Ziger/Snead, a highly regarded local architectural firm, to lead the project design efforts – starting with the research and the development of a Concept Design. Throughout this summer, they will be learning all there is to learn about the school’s needs and desires as well as the project’s opportunities and challenges.
- To assist Ziger/Snead, the entire GMS community is invited to a Project Design Update and Dialogue on August 6 from 4:30 – 7:00pm. Please RSVP to Brenda at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the school at 410-321-8555 if you can join us – and we will send more details and a reminder closer to that date.
- Once the Concept Design is perfected, the next steps will be to begin the more detailed design and permitting process in earnest as quickly as possible.
Great Foundation•Great Future: FAQs
How will GMS pay for the project? First and foremost, it must be said that GMS will take on the minimum amount of financing needed, assuring that the debt service, as a portion of the annual budget, will not create any upward pressure on tuitions. Project funding is projected to be satisfied through a combination of three sources:
- Cash reserves ($1.0 million)
- Bank financing ($3.0 million)
- Capital Campaign ($2.0 million)
How will the construction process impact the students? As little as possible and less than one might imagine. From the very start, one of the non-negotiable planning criteria has been to reduce or even eliminate transitions, especially for our smallest friends. As presently conceived, the bulk of the transitions will be occurring during the 2015-16 school year. That year,
- Toddlers will move directly into their new quarters
- Children’s House students will spend the year in the completely renovated Elementary House classrooms, adapted to their needs
- The Lower Elementary will reside in a set of well-prepared modular classrooms.
- Finally, our Children’s House and Lower Elementary students will settle into their new homes for the start of the 2016-17 school year.
Learn more. We hope to see you at the “Project Design Update and Dialogue” on August 6 from 4:30 – 7:00pm.
We know there is much work ahead, but are unified in our excitement about making our campus the best possible environment in which to serve our children. Throughout this process, keeping you included and informed is a high priority to us. Please let us know your thoughts and questions as we embark on this journey together.
Tamara S. Balis
Head of School