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MICDS announces $65 million fund-raising campaign

MICDS announces $65 million fund-raising campaign

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With two new buildings set to open next year and plans underway for a new aquatic center, Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School has announced a $65 million fundraising campaign.

The initiative at the private school in Ladue includes the building of its new science, technology, engineering and mathematics building, as well as Brauer Hall, an 800-seat auditorium and student commons area. Construction on those buildings began in August.

“The school will really be placed for the next significant chapter in our history,” said Lisa Lyle, head of school. “From where I sit, it’s a really exciting time to be a part of this school.”

So far, MICDS has raised $47.7 million toward the goal, including two of the largest gifts in the school’s history. The first was $21.5 million for the STEM building from the JSM Charitable Trust and James S. McDonnell, a 1954 graduate, and Elizabeth Hall McDonnell, a 1958 graduate. The second largest was from Stephen F. Brauer, a 1963 graduate, and Camilla (Kimmy) Thompson Brauer, a 1964 graduate, in an amount the school has not disclosed.

School leaders formally announced the initiative Friday evening at an event on campus to about 600 people.

The campaign is likely one of the largest at day schools in the Midwest, said Keith Shahan, president of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and former head at John Burroughs School, where its own $65 million campaign that began in 2004 made possible a new theater, gym, assembly hall and other projects.

Other priorities of the MICDS campaign include growing the school’s annual fund — which provides unrestricted money for the school’s operating budget — as well as endowment funds to ensure the hiring and retention of “world-class faculty” and need-based and merit-based student scholarships.

Leaders at the school, which has 1,246 students in junior kindergarten through grade 12 this year, have said the 52,000-square-foot science and math building will be one of the most advanced secondary education facilities west of the Mississippi — one that responds to a national call to improve teaching of those disciplines. The estimated completion date is February or March.

The aquatic center is in the early planning stages. The school’s current pool, on the north part of the campus, was built in the 1960s.

Annual tuition for grades 7-12 is $22,700.

In 2000, the school successfully completed a $46 million capital campaign to build an 86,000-square-foot athletic center, an overhaul of sports fields, a building for administration and classrooms, as well as endowed funds for teacher professional development, technology and financial aid.

The latest campaign comes out of the needs identified in the school’s strategic plan published in 2009. The goal is to raise the money by 2018.

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Jessica Bock is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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