What is Mark Day School proposing?

We are seeking to enhance our 50-year-old campus by creating a Learning Commons and Creativity Lab. The new, 11,270-square-foot building will serve as a 21st-century learning center for students in our K-8 school as well as replace office space for staff. We will also reimagine the outdoor amphitheater and renovate the quad.

What is the purpose of the project?

This project will enable students to learn the skills they need in today's world: to create, to collaborate, to access information and resources in depth, to filter the massive amounts of information available and transform it into meaningful knowledge, to use technology effectively and seamlessly, and more. Our goals for the project can be described in these categories:

Learning Commons: Today, all students need access to many different resources--traditional print materials such as books and periodicals, electronic and online texts, and other forms of electronic media. In a K-8 school, there is a wide range of developmental and intellectual maturity, which leads to the need for a wide range of developmentally appropriate materials. To create an all-inclusive learning environment, we have designed a space that is flexible, adaptable for student collaboration and other styles of learning, and that contains the collection, technology, and other resources that students and teachers use daily in our program.

Creativity Lab: Increasingly, research reveals the impact of hands-on student discovery and building on the depth and durability of student learning. Our 50-year-old campus is well cared for but lacks the flexible spaces and tools--such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and others--that will aid students undertaking this kind of work on a sustained basis across the K-8 program.

Staff space: Several staff offices that are being displaced by the Learning Commons and Creativity Lab will be placed within the new building. All office spaces within the other existing academic buildings are being utilized and will continue to be utilized.

Amphitheater: The new amphitheater rethinks the vital space from the ground up, creating a totally new design and experience for our community. The amphitheater will sit on the same location, but will be rotated 180 degrees so that the audience faces into the center of our campus. The use of the new space will be used for drama and musical performances, public speaking and assemblies, special events and graduation.

Quad: The vision for the new quad encompasses all the space between our classroom wings. With a totally new layout, fresh landscaping, and redesigned spaces, we will turn the now underutilized quad into a hub of activity on tomorrow's campus. Highlights include a new "green" play area, a water feature, two new sections of tables, and open space and seating that will give teachers new options for outdoor projects and small group work.

Why are we having a capital campaign now? How has Mark Day School arrived at this project?

With a lease extension from the Dixie School District securing permanence at our campus until at least 2045, and plans to extend it even further, our community partnered with the architectural firm Starkweather Bondy to create a needs assessment for our campus. Community input from students, faculty, and parents took place during the 2012-13 school year. The Board adopted the findings of the needs assessment in May 2013.

How much will the construction of the Learning Commons and improvements to the amphitheater and quad going to cost? How does the school intend to pay for this?

In December 2013, our Board of Trustees voted on and approved an $11 million budget for these new construction and upgrade projects. The initiative will be funded through a combination of community philanthropy and financing. The specific amounts coming from these two components will ultimately be determined by the school's ability to secure lead philanthropic gifts from the school community. The more we can raise philanthropically toward this initiative, the less debt we take on.

Why are we building on land we don't own?

Our long-term lease has been extended to 2045 and school leadership will continue to revisit the lease agreement with the Dixie School District to continue to work to extend our lease further into the future. The school built the arts and science building and the gymnasium in 2001.

When will construction start and how long will it last?

We began construction on the project in May of this year. For a detailed construction timeline, please visit our Construction Page. We anticipate completion and move in to be the summer of 2017.

Is the project incorporating green design and other sustainable features?

This project will be LEED Gold at minimum. We are incorporating water-efficient landscaping and overall water use reduction, using renewable materials, repurposing existing materials, and optimizing energy performances in the design.

Will the new space mean that more students will be enrolled?

There are no plans to increase the enrollment at Mark Day School. The plans for the new facility are to enhance student learning on campus. Class size and the focus on individual student learning remains the central part of our mission.

The front of the school is changing--what will it be used for?

This building will be focused on creating additional and much needed adaptable, flexible spaces for student learning in the form of a Learning Commons and Creativity Lab. It will replace the existing administrative building at the front of the school and create a welcoming entrance to the campus.

What is the difference between the Annual Fund and the Capital Campaign?

The annual fund and the capital campaign support distinct, but equally important, purposes that enable Mark Day School to fulfill its mission. Simply stated, an annual fund provides "money to live by." A capital campaign provides "money to build on." The capital campaign is an intensive, multiyear fundraising effort to secure gifts and pledges to support campus, facility, and technology improvements that will allow us to build upon our strong and broad curriculum. Our 50-year-old campus and buildings constrain the impact of our programs and the day-to-day classroom experience. The capital campaign has a defined lifespan, with a beginning and an end.

Are you also raising money for endowment?

As we transform our campus, we will also continue the vital work of building our endowment to support students, families, teachers, and programs at Mark Day School every day. Our endowment is our Fund for the Future, and each year it generates reliable funding for that needed support.

What was the impact of the last campaign?

Both our gymnasium and the arts and sciences building are the result of a successful $3.5 million capital campaign in 2001-3. Our community came together to support these improvements to our campus, and we see the impact of their dedication and commitment every day. We are building upon the dedication of those who came before us.

What will happen to the students during construction?

Our goal is to minimize the impact on the students during active construction times. The classrooms in the academic wings will be unaffected by construction.

Will this project impact Mark Day School's ability to offer tuition assistance?

The project will not impact the tuition assistance program. The support of over $1.6 million a year to about 25 percent of the student body will remain in the school's budget and is a core part of our school's mission and values.