STOCKBRIDGE/LENOX, MA (06/15/2016)(readMedia)-- Kim Taylor planted a shovel in the ground last Friday, June 10, for the new Kim and James Taylor Music and Performance Room at Berkshire Country Day School ("BCD"), an independent school for students in preschool through grade nine. Lynn Campana and Paul Hirt, parents of the late Kevin Hirt, Class of 2006, simultaneously broke ground for the Kevin Hirt Library and Learning Commons. The new facility will create a dramatic upgrade to the 70-year-old institution while preserving the beauty of the School's historic campus.
The groundbreaking is the result of "Fulfilling the Promise: The Campaign for BCD," which raised $2.89 million of its $3 million goal to support both the new construction and BCD's Endowment. These gifts were made by more than 300 donors. Designed by Flansburgh Architects, the project will transform Furey Hall, which was originally a cow barn, into a state-of-the-art center for learning and innovation.
Campaign co-chair and current parent Hilary Dunne Ferrone addressed the crowd of more than 250 students, parents, and faculty. "Today marks the beginning of a new chapter -- part of a continuum of good work done by people throughout our school's 70 years because they believed in what this school does and the kind of citizens it produces," said Ferrone.
The Kim and James Taylor Music and Performance Room will be a music classroom and performance space where students and members of the Berkshire community at-large can hold events for up to 100 guests. The architecture of the bright and open room will overlook the pond, bringing the beauty and spirit of the Berkshires into the space. The Taylors, whose twin boys graduated from BCD this year, are enthusiastic supporters of the School and served as the Campaign's Honorary Co-Chairs. "We've seen some amazing schools," said James Taylor in a statement. "Schools with vast endowments, monumental facilities, top notch faculties, but nowhere will we hope to find the equal of BCD in heart, soul, and spirit. The Taylors will always be a BCD family."
The library is named for the late Kevin Hirt '06, whose favorite class was library. Kevin suffered from neuroblastoma, an aggressive pediatric cancer. When he knew he would not survive despite his courageous fight, ten-year-old Kevin asked his parents to donate his college fund money to BCD to support the expansion of the School's library. His mother Lynn Campana recalled him saying, "BCD really needs a new library and you know how much that would mean to me." Fifteen years later, BCD is poised to "Fulfill the Promise" to Kevin and his family with an open-space multi-level facility that will enhance BCD's comprehensive and challenging curriculum. The library has been thoughtfully designed to foster a love of reading and provide tools that encourage innovation and creativity, and thus, connect BCD students to the wider world. Campana said, "Kevin would be really happy to know this is happening."
Allegrone Construction of Pittsfield won the competitive bidding process, and they expect the renovations to be complete and the new facility to open this winter. The project will be constructed without the School taking on debt.
The Campaign for BCD is the result of a strategic planning process that began in 2009 and engaged hundreds of stakeholders (including faculty, students, and current and past community members). "That collective effort set the tone for intentional stewardship and set a long-term vision for BCD which is distinct in program, adventurous in spirit, and engaged in a changing world," said Paul Lindenmaier, Head of School. "Two years later, a master planning process engaged everyone again and identified important facility upgrades, and it's those top priorities that we are addressing in this Campaign."
The Endowment component of the Campaign will grow the Fund for Faculty Salaries, positioning BCD to attract, retain, and support the extraordinary faculty. A fund named for celebrated teachers, the Eugénie and Jim Fawcett Fund for Faculty Salaries, honors these professionals who have taught at BCD for a combined 83 years. On June 3, 2016, BCD announced that the School received a $25,000 challenge from an anonymous alumnus in support of this fund.
Co-Chair Phil Deely '61 said, "I agreed to help a BCD capital campaign one last time because I was encouraged by the financial stability and steady vision that Paul Lindenmaier and his board of trustees have brought to BCD. As a long-time fundraiser I always stress that 'donors give to excellence' and BCD exemplifies excellence as a learning community."
The Campaign Committee includes Hilary Dunne Ferrone and Chris Ferrone, (Co-Chairs), Hilary Somers Deely and Phil Deely '61 (Co-Chairs), Robert Akroyd, B. Stephen Boyd, Jennifer Capala, Jeremy Creelan, Bev and David Hosokawa, Donna Kittredge, Paul Lindenmaier (Head of School), Danny Lipson, Colin Mathews, E. Quincy McLaughlin, Paige Smith Orloff (Board President), Marianna Poutasse, and Scott Schiff '74.
The Honorary Committee includes Kim and James Taylor (Co-Chairs), Earl Albert, Sion Boney, Peter Buttenheim, Lynn Campana, Donna Elmendorf, Emily H. Fisher, Nancy Fitzpatrick, Paul Hirt, Nancy Kalodner, Jim Maxymillian, Robin McGraw, Claire Naylor Pollart, Jane Ryan, Annie Laidlaw '78 Selke, and Alli Sheehan.
About Berkshire Country Day School
Berkshire Country Day School, established in 1946 and located at 55 Interlaken Road, Route 183 in Stockbridge, MA, is an independent school for students in Preschool through Grade 9. Berkshire Country Day School exists to inspire the individual promise of every student, that each may become an exemplary citizen of the world. For more information about the school, visit berkshirecountryday.org.