On Friday, May 24, over 200 members of the GNS community gathered at the Beach Drive Campus to officially open the school’s new Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten facilities and re-dedicate the Boathouse, one of the buildings designed by the iconic Junior School location’s architect, Francis Rattenbury. Together these buildings comprise the first completed projects in the upcoming campaign, a multi-phase capital campaign initiative that, once completed, will fully transform both the Junior School campus and the Middle and Senior School campus on nearby Bank Street.
“These facilities will enhance teaching, learning and enjoyment for generations of students while also reducing the school’s environmental footprint with green roofs and a number of passive heating and cooling features,” states Mr. Holtum. “It is also incredibly important to note that Phase One was fully-funded by philanthropy!”
Among the guests at Friday’s ceremony were four families whose generosity as lead donors helped realize this phase of the school’s campus transformation entirely through philanthropy. As part of the celebration, the school named facilities in honour of the following families:
- The Junior Kindergarten facility will be known as the Janey Gudewill Early Learning Centre, or Gudewill House, in honour of the late Janey Gudewill. Janey, along with her husband Eddie, was among the school’s earliest and most generous supporters and had four sons who attended Glenlyon Preparatory School (which merged with Norfolk House School in 1985 to create the current GNS);
- The Kindergarten facility will be known as Zhang House in honour of Sam Zhang and Pei Wang, GNS parents with two students currently attending the Junior School;
- The Boathouse will be known as the Robertson Boathouse, in honour of the Robertson Family, whose connection to GNS extends more than half a century; and
- The Marine Adventure Equipment Facility will be known as The Haven, and was a gift of the Hemphill Family, whose connection to GNS extends more than half a century.
“These families have made significant philanthropic gestures in support of both GNS and the upcoming campaign. Moving forward, as we work together as a community to build amazing facilities to match our programs, every donation, no matter the size, will be important,” says Mr. Holtum. “What will be of greatest value is participation—at any level—in supporting our transformation initiative.”
Our students are now well ensconced in their classrooms and thoroughly enjoying their new learning and playing spaces. When asked what was the best thing about their new rooms, the ocean view, the sliding doors, the joined classrooms and the bathroom taps that turn on by running your hands under them are just a few of the things that the Kindergarten students listed. The JK perspective was a little different. Each one felt that the space they were in, at that very moment, was their favourite because it was the best place to enjoy their current activity.