Dear Soaring Owls Foundation supporters, Bolton Academy families and neighbors,
As the 2016-2017 school year comes to a close, we want to update you on the status of our fundraising and funding initiatives. While this update is long, it’s worth the entire read!
SOFi has three major fundraising initiatives: Hooty’s Nest Egg Capital Campaign; SOFi Cup Golf Tournament; and SOFi’s NIGHT Charity Auction. For the 2016-2017 year, our primary fundraising objective was to raise funds for a new field and playground. Estimates on the cost of the field have ranged from $120,000 - $150,000. Additionally, we have been working with the PTA to obtain a grant that would help fund a new playground. SOFi’s financial commitment to help provide the playground is estimated to be an additional $15,000. These two items headlined our fundraising needs throughout our events and, as a result, we raised over $85,000, after costs and expenses associated with each of the events.
Even with significant expenditures on the horizon for the field and playground, SOFi continued its support for the school and its IB programs, field trips, cultural events (including Night of the Arts), and various heritage celebrations. We also started an initiative to provide stipends to our teachers to help reimburse them for the many expenses they incur for their classrooms.
Clearly, though, our largest funding priority is a new field in place of the current dirt “field” in the area between the media center doors and the swing sets. Ideally, the installation process (which should take approximately one month) will occur when the students are not in school. As such, we have set a goal of having it completed this summer.
Initially, the project scope was set for a 7,500 square foot turf field. As we spoke with parents and the school administration, we expanded the field to 10,000 square feet. This will better utilize the space and provide more opportunities for play than was originally contemplated.
We have been working with the firm of Goodwin Mills Cawood to provide the landscape, architectural and engineering designs to focus our vision into a set of renderings and construction plans. Atlanta Public Schools (APS) has reviewed the plans, as they need to oversee the project and approve the improvements. As part of APS’s review, we met with its arborist to advise of the necessary modifications to the plans to accommodate certain large trees, the remediation that needs to occur based on the likely impact to trees by the construction of the field, and what new trees need to be planted to compensate for any trees that will be removed. Boutte Tree Service has been invaluable in assisting us with this process.
Our next step is to meet with the turf field installer and grading contractor on site to finalize our plan. With their consensus, we can finalize the architectural plans, obtain APS approval and obtain a permit from the City of Atlanta.
Meanwhile, for the playground component of the project, we have been working with KaBOOM! and APS to try to find common ground in the contractual language KaBOOM! and APS require. KaBOOM! is a non-profit organization based in New York that works to provide grants for playgrounds by matching corporations with schools. SOFi will pay for 10% of the playground cost plus any ancillary costs including demolition, site preparation, tree remediation, permitting, tool rental and other build costs. Because of this significant grant opportunity, we have continued to try to find a way for KaBOOM! to modify some of its proposed contractual language that APS is prohibited by law from signing.
Based upon the tremendous support from the Bolton Academy community to date and the confidence that this support will continue, we believe we will be able to deliver the field and playground while maintaining funding for current and upcoming initiatives.
In addition to our annual fundraising, we plan to implement a commemorative brick drive to dedicate further funds to the field and playground. We also need to maintain sufficient reserves for expanded curricula and projects that the GO Team, Bolton Academy administration and others identify.
Your support has been critical to the growth of Bolton Academy and we look forward to working with our supporters to continue to deliver improvements to the facilities and support our hard-working faculty and staff.
Finally, and most importantly, we thank you for your support and investment in Bolton Academy. Have a great summer!
Chairman and President, The Soaring Owls Foundation