Groundbreaking Celebration

More than 600 alumni, parents and friends of Burroughs gathered on Thursday, April 12, 2012 to break ceremonial ground on the largest construction project in school history. The transformational project includes a 60,000-square-foot athletic center, a 53,000-square-foot performing arts/assembly center, a renovated Commons and an enlarged Quadrangle. Actual groundbreaking took place one month later; the project was completed in November 2013.

Head of School Andy Abbott’s opening comments at the celebration focused on the sense of community that “has been evident in the spirit and hard work that has brought us to this point tonight. As exciting as the new facilities and spaces will be, it is the people of Burroughs who truly matter — who truly make a difference.”

Abbott highlighted the plan that will enhance more than 40 percent of the campus. The performing arts/assembly center, with its 700-seat auditorium, will provide teaching, practice and performance space for the music, dance and theatre programs. The athletic center will include a multilevel, 600-seat gymnasium, a fitness center, locker rooms and athletic offices. The current Quadrangle in the heart of the campus will be expanded threefold and the Commons will be renovated as a main street of student life, connecting the Quadrangle, the new performing arts/assembly center and the new athletic center. For details, click here.

Steve Maritz, chair of the capital campaign, reported that to date the school is more than two-thirds of the way to its $45 million goal ($35 million for construction and $10 million for endowment). Originally, the Board of Trustees had planned to complete the project in phases, but fund-raising progress, favorable interest rates and manageable construction costs prompted the Board to move forward with the full project immediately. “We still have a way to go,” says Maritz, “but we’re confident the Burroughs community will rise to the challenge, as it has in previous campaigns."

Construction on the theatre and athletic center will begin this spring, while the current auditorium/theatre remains standing. Next spring, that building will come down, and the  renovation of the Commons and expansion of the Quadrangle will take place. The entire project is expected to be completed before the end of 2013.

Abbott also announced the release of a new book, Teammates for Life, at the April 12 event. The book documenting the school’s athletic history was written by long-time history teacher, coach and athletic director Jim Lemen and JBS alum and writer Jud Calkins. Lemen and his wife, Carole, were named honorary alumni of the school. Calkins was given the school’s Distinguished Service Award.

Also included in the evening’s program was a video in which some of the school’s more prominent alumni in the performing arts expressed warm sentiments about the school’s theatre program. They included actors Jon Hamm '89 and Ellie Kemper '98, Broadway producers Mike Bosner '04 and Terry Schnuck '71, Broadway music producer Kurt Deutsch '84, conductor Leon Burke '72, musician Jason Torrey '00, television and film editor Joe Leonard '98, writer Carrie Kemper '02 and writer and filmmaker Stephanie Sanditz '95.

The evening’s program concluded with the ceremonial groundbreaking on the site of the future athletic center. School leaders representing the students, faculty, parents and alumni participated.

From left to right, they included Liz Philpott, vice president of the Parents Council; Donya Allison, chair of the Faculty Executive Committee; Keith Shahan '62, Head of School, 1986 - 2009; Mary Beth Soffer, president of the JBS Board of Trustees; Andy Abbott, Head of School; Steve Maritz '76, chair of the Campaign for Burroughs; Vince Vance '12, president of the student body; and Kathy Rainey Bussmann '75, president of the Alumni Association.