A Place for Innovation, Collaboration, and Intellectual Exploration
The Athenian School prepares its students for a life of intellectual exploration and meaningful contribution through a rigorous, hands-on, experiential curriculum. Students are actively engaged in their learning and become adept problem solvers.
The Athenian School is investing in projects that will enhance the learning experience of each and every student, providing them with the skills they need to become engaged global citizens:
The new Knoll Classroom Buildings will provide flexible learning spaces to foster collaboration and hands-on, experiential learning opportunities. Three new buildings will house 9 new humanities classrooms, 1 new science classrooms, and 2 bathrooms. Each classroom is more than 650 square feet and includes an additional 150 square foot breakout room.
A renewed Main Hall with Innovation Space will enhance interdisciplinary learning, encourage innovation and creativity, and serve as the heart of the campus.
A remodeled Commons will be a vibrant activity hub for students and provide one-stop services, from counseling and meetings to gathering and retrieving mail.
These projects will enrich every student’s Athenian experience, serve the Athenians of tomorrow, and better align our learning spaces with our mission.
We have just ended the 2015-16 school year amid a whirl of activity: league-winning sporting events, a remarkable Design and Engineering Showcase, the Spring Arts Festival, final exams, and end-of-year celebrations.
Our campus enhancements will foster collaboration through architecture, unite far-flung classes that are flexible and modern, bring the life of the campus to the core, and employ sustainable and smart design strategies that honor the land and the environment.
The new Knoll Classroom Buildings will provide flexible learning spaces to foster collaboration and hands-on, experiential learning opportunities. Three modular structures will include classrooms and meeting spaces for the humanities and the sciences.
A re-envisioned Main Hall, almost double the size of the original one, and a large Innovation Space will enhance interdisciplinary learning, bring student innovation and creativity to the center of campus, and create a meeting space large enough for the entire campus community.
A new Commons will be a vibrant activity hub and a central resource for student services, from college counseling and learning specialists to the registrar’s office.
To finance this new construction, our Board of Trustees has approved a philanthropic campaign to raise funds from our community with additional support from financing. Athenian's financial situation is very solid, allowing us to underake this project from a strong position.
Primarily, the Campaign will be funded through private gifts from every member of the School community: parents, alumni, parents of alumni, grandparents, faculty and friends. We are also seeking assistance from foundations. By the end of the 2017-18 school year, every member of the community, past and present, will be contacted in regards to supporting this effort. For independent schools like Athenian, capital campaigns are standard practice in fundraising for infrastructure improvements. Just as community philanthropy has sustained our School for the last 50 years, we believe that our current families will want to invest in the future of Athenian.
Our goal is to minimize the impact on the students during active construction times. To keep students safe, some areas of the campus will be cordoned off. We will use a temporary kitchen for dining services during construction of the Main Hall. Our contractor, who has prior experience working on schools and hospitals, is required to ensure that student safety is a priority.
The School gathered input from a wide variety of constituents: alumni, current parents, students, faculty, staff, alumni parents, and friends. Based on that input, the Board and administration have carefully considered a transformational campus master plan that lays out numerous campus improvements to allow for a dynamic educational experience. The School involved the community at large in the ideating, planning, designing, and redesigning processes.
Many alumni representing decades of Athenian experience participated in the design of these projects, including alumni on the board, on the staff, and alumni parents. Based on their input, we have committed to honor the existing Kate and Dyke Brown Hall by keeping its name and maintaining the viewshed as the focal point of the building. The iconic stained glass windows will be preserved and integrated into the new facility. While the new facilities footprint will be bigger than the current Main Hall, it will not encroach on the East Lawn. Finally, other architectural aspects of the original Main Hall will be integrated into the new facilities, including the reuse of the materials on campus.
Alumni with questions and concerns can reach out to Elizabeth Newey, Advancement Associate.
Athenian was founded on principles of environmental sustainability and we are incorporating these values into our construction projects. We are using renewable materials, repurposing existing materials, optimizing energy, and incorporating water-efficient landscaping and overall water-use reduction performances in the design. In addition, the building meets the new CalGreen building codes which are based on LEED standards.
The plans for the new facility are to enhance student learning on campus. The School recently grew the boarding program from 40 to 60 students and the Upper School student body saw modest growth along with it. As with any change, we look to maintain the things that are important to us, and first and foremost, the School remains fully committed to small class sizes that promote seminar-style teaching, personal attention, and close relationships with faculty.
Like all independent schools, Athenian's tuition does not cover the entire cost to operate the School. We depend on the regular philanthropy of our community to meet our annual budget. Because our mission encourages meaningful contributions to better our world, we have found that Athenian parent support for the Annual Fund is robust and participation continues to grow each year.
As we enter into a capital campaign, it is important that we continue to support the Annual Fund for the ongoing operation of our School. The School will ask for an Annual Fund gift while you are making a capital campaign donation for the same reason you pay your mortgage as you are financing an addition to your home.
Community philanthropy, not tuition, will support the Campus Master Plan implementation. The Board’s Finance Committee may look at annual tuition increases, as they do each year, because of anticipated increases in operating costs. We do not ancitipate tuition rising because of the construction.
The project will not impact our financial aid program. The support of over $2.7 million a year to about 20% of the student body will remain in the School's budget and is a core part of our mission and values.
Athenian’s previous Campaign, “The Pillar Campaign,” began in 2004 and was completed in 2008. The Campaign raised approximately $12 million – $2.1 million in annual gifts, $1.5 million in deferred gifts and $8.4 million in Campaign funds – meeting its set goal. The Campaign focused on endowment and a variety of capital projects, including The Dase Center and the Estakhri Family Sports Field.