||Dear Parents and Members of the Board of Trustees:
The Shaping Our World Capital Campaign began as the result of a long range planning process that drew upon all of the resources of the BWL community. After an extensive analysis of BWL and its needs, with input from parents, faculty, the administration and members of the Board, as well as the expertise of Anne Rosenfeld, an outside consultant who handled strategic planning for Philips Exeter, a staggering degree of consensus was reached.
Known for its academic excellence and the quality of instruction that had only improved since the merger of Birch Wathen and Lenox in 1991, BWL clearly needed increased classroom space. Although the need for sheer space was evident, through the Shaping Our World Capital Campaign we had the opportunity to define the type of expansion that would best serve the needs of the School. Our goal was never to increase enrollment, but to enhance the educational experience for students, faculty and all members of our community. We wanted to create a flexible and comfortable learning facility that would complement our existing philosophy of rigorous academics within a nurturing environment.
Five years later, we have accomplished Phase One of our Capital Campaign, having achieved completion of construction, which will now make future improvements possible and enable us to maintain our high educational standards. We have spent fifteen million dollars to create two new floors while completely upgrading all of the existing floors, adding a new Performing Arts Center as well as enlarging and renovating our auditorium, gymnasium, and Commons. In addition, we have retooled all of the heating, air conditioning, electricity and internal wiring. With close to ten million dollars in donations from over two hundred generous families in our community, we are halfway to reaching our goal.
Phase Two of Shaping Our World is now underway. For those of you who have entered BWL since the building expansion took place, it is important to mention that without an improved infrastructure and expanded space, many of the day-to-day educational offerings that we take for granted now would not have been feasible.
In the area of technology alone, the renovations that took place at the time of the building expansion have contributed to the curriculum while enhancing communications throughout the school. When we rewired the entire building, the upgraded digital infrastructure known as the “backbone” ultimately allowed us to install a secure wireless network, making it possible for faculty and students to access the Internet from any location in the school. In addition to the wireless network, a high-speed fiber optic line was installed to relieve congestion from our old digital line, thus quadrupling our bandwidth. We are also currently in the process of looking into a voice over IP phone system that will enable faculty members to receive voicemail messages through their email accounts. In the Lower School teachers have been introduced to interactive projectors which is a projection unit that turns any whiteboard into interactive whiteboard.
Improved technology was just one aspect of the renovations made to the auditorium, which now includes a state of the art control room, making the auditorium a place where students can learn the fundamentals of lighting and sound. Our commitment to the performing arts is evident in our ability to host a wide range of outside performers as well as our students’ shows, in both the auditorium and the new Performing Arts Center. Recently one of our seniors produced a student directed play for the first time in the School’s history—an event that was facilitated by having a fluid space available for this kind of creative venture. The Performing Arts Center is also home to wide array of elective courses for Middle and Upper School students, such as Music Composition, as well as extracurricular offerings in the Lower School, including Ballet and Lego Robotics. Our beautifully renovated Conference Room is yet another space that has afforded flexibility for students and faculty, providing a welcoming and appropriate room for seminars and meetings.
As we embark upon Phase Two of Shaping Our World, with ten million raised to date, our ability to continually assess the needs of the School while maintaining our high educational standards hinges on your generous participation. Our vision for the future is not to enroll a larger student body, but rather to enhance our School as it continues to respond with dynamism and flexibility to the challenges and demands of a new decade. During the current uneven economic climate, BWL’s Annual Fund has only grown, demonstrating the dedication and loyalty of our community; and our shared awareness that in the best independent schools, tuition alone does not cover the full cost of educating our students.
We know that we can count on your support in the Capital Campaign as well. The structure for donations is slightly different from the Annual Fund. Leadership Gifts begin at $100,000, and you may develop a plan for paying your pledge over a five-year period. New Naming Opportunities will be available as well. We are currently creating a structure of parent volunteers to reach out to the entire BWL community. Please feel free to contact the Development Office with any inquiries.
In the final analysis, BWL is your school. When you support BWL, you support your sons and daughters. You help them to:
- Create better possibilities for themselves and for others
- To communicate effectively
- To practice honesty, kindness and loyalty, which are the goals and criteria of a BWL education
- To think clearly
- To leave the city and the world a better place
BWL empowers your children—when you empower BWL.
Frank J. Carnabuci III