In addition, because of the generous philanthropy of this community, we are able to replace our artificial turf field this summer as well as do some much-needed improvements to some of our buildings. I am excited about the many successes of this school year and what the future holds for Athenian as we begin to implement our Campus Master Plan and reimagine our facilities. I would like to update you on these efforts.
Like anyone who has undertaken a large building project, Athenian has encountered unanticipated challenges that have set back our timeline. These have included a long permitting process and a substantial rise in Bay Area construction costs. Our Board of Trustees, Chief Operating Officer, new project manager and I have spent many long hours this year deliberating on how to proceed in light of the rising costs of construction. While we considered many options, we were clear on one thing from the beginning: we do not want to change or sacrifice any of the functionality of the new spaces our community has been invested in envisioning for three years. The service and size of the Innovation and Knoll classroom spaces will remain the same. The Main Hall will still be the centerpiece of the campus, a large gathering space that looks to the Mt. Diablo foothills. And we need a true community commons that combines offices with student space.
We are looking forward to the potential for hands-on learning once construction does begin. We will be continuing to plan over the summer and hope to give you a revised timeline in the fall. We are not sure exactly how long the project will take but our goal is to have everything completed by the 2018-19 school year. I will keep you updated on our progress as things change and develop.
We recognize that this process is taking longer than we had anticipated. However, the extra time has allowed us to do our due diligence and we are better positioned now than we were a year ago:
- We will have better, more affordable buildings.
- We have hired a new project manager, Ben Rodriguez, who will help us construct a better product and mitigate risk further during construction.
- There is a huge learning curve for a project of this size, the largest in Athenian’s history. We are all much further along on the curve.
- We have had more planning time to minimize disruptions to the community and to start conversations about how to build educational opportunities around the project into the curriculum.
I am thrilled to report that the philanthropy of our community, which supports our mission and will be what makes our master plan implementation possible, is in a very positive place. This year we have received some of the greatest gifts in Athenian history, and we continue to go out to leaders in this community to garner the necessary support for this project.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue this process. I am always available if you have questions or would like to know more.