By Jacqueline De Guzman
This article originally appeared in the fall 2015 Harker Quarterly.
Last spring, a new two-building design for the athletic and performing arts complex on the Saratoga campus was announced during Harker’s Night on the Town gala, following the strong response from the community in meeting the Rothschild Challenge. In addition, a second inspirational match was offered by a generous Harker family who wishes to remain anonymous. With these two historic gifts, plans have been confirmed to break ground in spring 2016. Construction on the complex will begin while the school is in the midst of raising the final $7 million to meet the capital campaign’s goal. The exact completion date will be influenced by the ability to reach that goal. Should the objective be met, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be planned for fall 2017.
New Two-Building Design
The two-building design will include outstanding facilities for learning and allow for plenty of green open space, enabling the buildings to integrate seamlessly with the rest of the campus. In addition, a central quad has been added where students can gather during the day, adding to the already collegiate feel of the school. This new feature will help preserve the current amount of parking spaces and allow Harker to push the parking toward the back wall facing Interstate 280, helping to increase the safety of students walking through campus as well as minimizing noise pollution.
Currently, upper school athletes and performing arts students need to be shuttled to the middle school’s Blackford Avenue campus – and even off-site to larger theater venues – for games and performances. The new design is a necessary step toward planning for the eventual transition out of the Blackford Avenue campus lease, so that upper school students have facilities on their own campus.
The planned two-floor athletics building has features including a training room, fitness room, hydrotherapy room, team and locker rooms, and a regulation-size gymnasium. An added benefit to the redesign is the close proximity of the athletics building to Davis Field and the Singh Aquatic Center. Students will no longer have to walk across the parking lot from the locker room to other athletic facilities. The new gym will also cultivate school pride as students can go and watch sporting events happening right on campus.
Performing Arts Building
The new performing arts center incorporates much-needed features such as a fly loft and larger professional stage, which will allow students to produce higher quality performances worthy of their skill and ability. The center also includes an orchestra pit, a large rehearsal space, medium and large vocal rooms and a scene shop. A unique element of the performing arts center will be a gallery space to showcase students’ visual arts pieces.
Together, ‘Let’s Make It Happen!
The new performing arts and sports complex is a much-needed addition to the upper school campus. Not only will it serve performing art and student athletics, but also other schoolwide and public events, including the research symposium, Harker Speaker Series, and business and entrepreneurship programs.
Last fall, a historic $10 million challenge from the Rothschild family was announced. This gift matched any contributions made to the capital campaign for the new performing arts and sports complex.
Recently a Harker family, who had already given $3 million to help Harker meet the Rothschild Challenge, was inspired by the response of the school community to the challenge. In addition to their first gift, the family decided to make an inspirational matching pledge of $7 million. They wanted to go a step above and inspire other families to join them, and now they want to provide additional families with the same opportunity to double the impact of their capital gifts.
Families who did not have the opportunity to increase their support during the limited six month period that the Rothschild Challenge was in effect will now be able to do so. This might include families who are new to the school or who have decided to make an additional gift to the capital campaign now that the complex is set for construction and the benefits are in sight.
“As they sat down to complete the paperwork for their contribution, the father could not contain his excitement and exclaimed, ‘Let’s make it happen!’ – so we are calling this last appeal for this campaign the ‘Let’s Make It Happen’ phase,” explained Joe Rosenthal, executive director of advancement.
How Does the Campaign Work?
For any family who participates in the annual campaign, and also makes a gift to the capital campaign, the donor will match the amount of the capital campaign donation, dollar for dollar up to $7 million. Contributions will have a positive impact now and for the future of The Harker School, further solidifying its place among the finest independent schools in the nation.
For updates and information about giving to the capital campaign, please visit www.harker.org/giving/capital-giving.