Vail Mountain School receives $2 million gift |

Vail Mountain School receives $2 million gift

Staff Report
Special to the Daily Vail Mountain School students gather across from the arts center of their new school building as Headmaster Peter Abuisi announces a $2 million challenge gift that was made this week to the school's $26 million capital campaign for renovations.

Vail Mountain School has received a major contribution to help with construction costs from a group of anonymous donors, the head of the school says.

“Our capital campaign has set a new benchmark for fund raising in Eagle County with the announcement of a $2 million challenge gift from an anonymous group of donors,” said Peter Abuisi, head of the East Vail private school. “The school’s capital campaign has currently raised $20.3 million in pledges and cash toward its $26 million goal for the construction of a new 92,000-square-foot campus in East Vail.

“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the donors who created this challenge which they hope will inspire additional contributions to bring the campaign to a successful conclusion,” Abuisi said.

David Ferguson and Pat McConathy, co-chairs of the !magine Campaign for Vail Mountain School, said the $2 million donation, when matched by an additional $4 million in gifts from the community, will help the school reach its the $26 million goal line and should assure completion of the new campus by summer, 2005. Every $2 contributed to the challenge will be matched by one dollar from the $2 million challenge gift.

“We hope many people will be inspired to support Vail Mountain School through this challenge which expires on June 30, 2004,” Ferguson said. “The community’s charitable support will be critical to its success.”

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Scott Somes, president of school’s board of trustees, said because the new campus is being entirely funded by philanthropic support, the school must raise the entire $26 million to meet its construction budget.

“Currently members of the board of trustees have made generous gifts toward the campaign, totaling over $13 million,” he said. “In addition, VMS parents, grandparents, teachers and friends have contributed more than $7 million.”

Last summer, construction was completed on a new soccer field and the school’s historic cabin was renovated. Work on the new campus began in spring, 2003.

New classrooms, a library, an arts center and auditorium will be ready to for students mid-July. The school building, which was built in 1979, will be taken down this summer to make room for a gymnasium, dining hall, administrative center and additional classrooms.

To help the school expand – both in size and enrollment – Vail Resorts, Inc. contributed a piece of land east of Katsos Ranch Road and two additional parcels adjacent to the school were also purchased, McConathy said.

Vail Mountain School was established in 1962 by founders of the ski resort and is the second oldest organization in Vail. The school now employs 53 teachers, administrators and support staff and the new campus includes eight faculty apartments.

In the upcoming school year, the school will distribute more than $660,000 in financial assistance for tuition to 26 percent of its anticipated 290 students. The $26 million capital campaign goal includes the creation of an endowment fund to further increase funding for financial aid.

Expansion facts

Specifics of the Vail Mountain School construction project include:

– Two-story academic wing.

– Large, two-story, commons area.

– Library tripled in size, allowing for expanded collections, a large children’s reading room and a wireless network environment.

– Multi-purpose 380-seat auditorium.

– Three art studios and an art gallery.

– Dining hall that will seat 250 students at one time.

– Larger gymnasium with regulation-size volleyball and basketball courts, permanent bleachers to seat 300, a main gym and auxiliary area, fitness room and a two-story climbing wall and enlarged locker facilities.

– Three computer labs.

– Regulation-size, synthetic turf soccer field

– Eight faculty apartments with garages.

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