At its February meeting, Geneva’s Board of Trustees gave approval for the school to enter into a contract for the construction of Phase 2 of the new Grammar School campus. We expect construction to begin over Spring Break and continue for 12 months. In preparation for the construction, the business office has been relocated to the portable next to the MPB. Fifth grade will be moved into portables in the Grammar School parking lot over the next two weeks. Once everyone is moved out, we will turn the site over to the builder.
I expect the fourth quarter to look a lot like the fall of 2015, when construction started on Phase 1 – heavy equipment moving within a fenced construction site in the middle of campus. As in the fall of 2015, we will have officers on duty monitor construction traffic on campus to ensure drivers are proceeding carefully.
When completed, Phase 2 will add 20,000 sq. feet of permanent classrooms space to our Grammar School. In addition to 16 classrooms, the project will also add a music room, art room and science lab. Completion of the project will allow the school to move from our current, staggered population arrangement for Grammar (3 classes in Kinder with 14 students each; 3 classes in 1st & 2nd grades with 16 students each; 3 classes in 4th & 5th grades with 18 student each) to an arrangement that welcomes more students in the earlier grades while also reducing the number per class (5 classes in Kinder with 12 students each; 4 classes in 1st thru 5th grade with 15 students each).
In reaching the decision to move forward, the Board balanced some very real world concerns: (1) The school has a policy that requires funding be raised before construction begins; (2) The school has received a very generous $1M matching gift from donors in the hopes that construction will begin and the remaining funds will be raised in the next few months; (3) Most of the required funding for Phase 2 has been raised and the Board is actively working to close the gap in the next few months by raising additional funds; (4) The fact that Phase 2 construction has not already begun means that the overall cost of the project has increased due to a rise in construction costs. The longer construction is delayed, the more expensive the project is likely to be; and (5) If Geneva is to have any opportunity for new classrooms to be available by the fall of 2018, we must start construction now.
The school is moving forward with construction in faith that over the next few months, we will match the $1M gift so we can fully fund the completion of Phase 2. In the highly unlikely event we don’t raise the remaining $1M, then we will pause construction in order to protect the school from debt.
In addition to the start of Phase 2, the school is also announcing the hiring of a Capital Campaign Manager, Joanne Thornton. Joanne and her husband Robert are co-founders and strong supporters of Geneva as well as the parents of Nick (Geneva Class of 2013). Joanne will juggle the duties of campaign manager along with her teaching responsibilities with Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). Joanne, currently being trained by the school’s fundraising consultant The Focus Group, will work closely with me, Amy Metzger and a few campaign committees the school has put together.
Please join me in welcoming Joanne to the school staff and in praying for a safe fourth quarter as construction begins on campus.