(Savannah Country Day School, Savannah, Ga.) An anonymous donor has given Savannah Country Day School a $3 million gift towards its new LEED certified Lower School building. The gift is the largest in the history of Savannah Country Day School. The $3 million is a challenge grant contingent on SCDS raising the remaining funds for the Lower School building by January 2009. To date, Country Day has raised over $6.5 million. An additional $7.6 million remains.
The groundbreaking will be held Wednesday, March 28th at 8:30 a.m. in the quad between the Nina Anderson Pape Middle School and the future site of the LEED certified Lower School. The Guest speaker will be Martin Melaver, Class of '76 alumnus and CEO of Melaver, Inc., a real estate company committed to sustainable development that recently received the Southface Institute's annual Argon award for visionary leadership and stewardship of the environment.
The anonymous grant will be used towards the construction of the new Country Day Lower School – which will be the first school in Savannah to be LEED-certified meeting the standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Construction on the building will begin in early April, and the school hopes to begin classes there in August 2008.
Using lower-fume paints, coatings, adhesives, sealants, and carpets, as well as recycled materials, the construction process itself is environmentally friendly. The new Lower School will also encourage environmental awareness after completion – plumbing for the new Lower School will be such that water use is reduced by 20 percent, and bike racks will be incorporated to promote alternate forms of transportation.
The 52,500-square-foot building will house grades 1-5, the media center, science facilities and administrative offices for the Lower School. The LEED certified Lower School is one of the first projects in Savannah Country Day's campus master plan, which includes provisions for a new Upper School building, sports complex, and Fine Arts facility.
According to Country Day Director of Development John Carr, “The $3 million grant is a transformational one for the school in that it broadens our scope of philanthropic sources. It also demonstrates a strong vote of confidence in Savannah Country Day School as an educational institution, as well as in its leadership, and its future direction.”
Headmaster Tom Bonnell holds, “We are truly grateful to each and every one of our donors for their stewardship to Country Day. We are especially thankful for this benchmark gift. Not only is it the largest in the school's history, but it will contribute greatly to the completion of the LEED certified Lower School which marks another first in the school's – and Savannah's – effort to think progressively.”
The donation is very important for the school, Melaver said, and Country Day's decision to build the new Lower School to LEED standards is very significant for the community.
“This is huge,” Melaver said. “Not just for Country Day, is students and teacher and alums – although they should certainly take tremendous pride in being the second school in Georgia to undertake a LEED-certified school. It's huge for Savannah and the entire Creative Coast.
“This building is about leadership and being better stewards of our coast and about envisioning a different approach to how we all mature more humbly as a culture,” Melaver said. “Yes, it's about teaching our children to be more cognizant of our footprint upon this earth. But I think it's more about enabling our children to teach their parents well.
“The children who will enter this new building as first-graders will graduate from Country Day a dozen years later and point to the LEED plaque on the wall and say 'so what's the big deal, that's done everywhere,' Melaver said. “And it will be then that the true revolutionary nature of what Tom Bonnell and the Board of Trustees and the donors both large and small have accomplished: they have made the necessary and urgent and extraordinary become part of everyday use.”
Savannah Country Day School is a pre-k through twelve independent school that seeks to prepare students of academic and personal promise to meet with confidence, imagination, and integrity the challenges of college and of life. In partnership with supportive families, we strive to cultivate in each student the desire and the discipline to grow wise, to lead lives of personal honor, to appreciate beauty, to pursue physical well being, and to serve others with a generous and compassionate spirit. For more information about Savannah Country Day School, its mission, and its programs, please log on to www.savcds.org.
For more information about Melaver, Inc. please visit www.melaver.com .