Spartanburg Day School Receives $2 Million Gift from Milliken Brothers, towards Renovation of Existing Facilities
Posted April 21, 2010
Dear Parents and Friends,
We have some very exciting news to share!
The school has received a gift of $2 million from long-time supporters Roger and Gerrish Milliken. With their gift, they have challenged the school community to renovate all original core buildings and convert them into healthier, more energy efficient environments that will support learning well into the 21st century. This ambitious and extensive project will bring the core of the school up to par with the new construction currently under way.
A series of studies were recently commissioned to benchmark the overall efficiency of the forty-plus year old facilities, which comprise the 100 to 400 wings and the administrative offices. Not surprisingly with an aging facility, many opportunities for improvements were uncovered. However, the same study concluded that the original structures are well designed, well built, very sound and suited for retrofitting. What made the findings particularly exciting is that, as some have said, “the school has good bones” and upgrading a series of components will result in significant improvements at a fraction of the cost of new construction.
The Milliken brothers are spearheading the $3.8 million project, under the condition that the school seek LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The school must also utilize the best technologies and best equipment available today, and hire an engineer to oversee the maintenance of all new systems. Insisting on having only the best are in fact the same principles that were followed over forty years ago when the school was originally constructed. These principles have guided the school well for over 53 years, and have certainly marked the Millikens’ endeavors throughout their expansive careers.
Although LEED certification of new construction across South Carolina is becoming more prevalent, retrofitting of an aging facility is in itself a bold move, one that demonstrates a great deal of commitment to the preservation of resources. It is more common and perhaps easier to bulldoze the old and bring in the new, but what is inherent in that process is creating a lot of waste. The renovation of the existing building will avert this practice, and be in keeping with widely encouraged and applauded sustainable practices.
Not only will the campus become a highly energy-efficient facility, the renovations are focused on creating a healthy indoor environment, which studies have shown results in better productivity, improved learning and often higher student scores. Additionally, the new technologies and equipment being utilized will present a number of educational opportunities for teachers and students to explore.
A state-of-the-art Geo Thermal system will be the centerpiece of the renovation. Fifty wells, 500 feet deep, will be dug on the back of campus and provide the infrastructure for the new HVAC system. Drilling is scheduled to begin the week of May 3rd. “All told we are drilling 25,000 feet into the earth, the equivalent of nearly five miles!” observed Headmaster, Chris Dorrance. “That is farther than some of us travel to and from school on any given day.”
In addition, all windows and entry doors will be replaced; new highly-rated insulation, plus energy efficient fixtures and lighting will be installed. Each room will also have individualized climate controls. When completed, the school will have been fully refurbished from end to end and have a completely fresh look and feel.
The 66,500 square feet that comprise the main buildings will be fully vacated shortly after graduation ceremonies for the class of 2010. Every teacher, administrator and staff member will pack the contents of their classrooms and offices and move them into storage, making way for the construction crews that will work on implementing an aggressive building schedule all summer. Please plan to support teachers as they prepare for the major undertaking of moving out of their classrooms and back in again at the end of their summer break. A lot of work is ahead for all, but the consensus is that this opportunity is unprecedented and the outcome will be worth every effort.
The Dent Center will be used extensively over the course of the summer. Administrative offices will be relocated to the Dent and Foreign Language Buildings. All Summer programs will be conducted in the Dent Center.
Some are jokingly calling the renovation "Extreme Makeover- Griffin Edition." Extreme it is in its vision, scope and schedule. The project is scheduled for completion in time to welcome our families to the back-to-school picnic on August 23rd, 2010.