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$35 million campaign to remain in place despite budget cuts

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The goal of raising the estimated $35 million needed to complete the master facilities plan is underway, as the advanced gifts phase of the capital campaign near its evaluation date at the end of August.

When questioned about the feasibility of raising the money needed to complete the master facilities plan in its entirety, President Richard O’Hara said, “As much as I would do a little dance in public if it happens, I don’t think it’s highly likely that we’ll raise all that needs to be raised through fundraising.”

To make up the difference, money will be raised through a “combination of fundraising and financing,” according to O’Hara, although research about how this will be done is needed.

He added, “Of course, things like the school’s financial situation have a bearing on ability to borrow. We’re very confident right now that things are strong to the point that we will be able to borrow [money].”

However, “There are folks we have talked to that have made pledges,” O’Hara said. Exact amounts have not been disclosed.

Even with the effects of the current economy, “We are on track by doing everything we said we would do in the advanced gifts stage. It will depend on the numbers at the end of the day, which is in late August when the Board of Trustees [will determine what parts of the plan we can complete],” O’Hara said.

There aren’t currently any plans to reschedule the launch of the campaign in light of other financial issues at the school. O’Hara said, “There are enrollment challenges, but I think it’s important to manage them, plan for any possibility, [but] we’re not in any type of crisis or panic mode. We just have to work hard and work smart to deal with challenges in this economy.”

Still, “I truly believe that even with all the challenges that are out there now, we will be able to launch it,” O’Hara said. “I don’t think anybody feels we’re going to get that 35 million dollars. Maybe it’s 10 or 15 and we can get a lot for 10 or 15 [million].”

The result of the capital campaign will be a “tremendous way to add value to the school and generate a lot of confidence and momentum. When people in the John Carroll family see things actually being built, I think that will produce a lot of momentum for what comes next,” O’Hara said.

Because it is likely that the master facilities plan will need to be phased in, O’Hara predicts that the Board will look to pursue the plan in a way as to get “big bang for our buck” as well as “be very doable without disrupting school life.”

The first focus would be most likely on-site work, or “campus layout, things that are more self contained and could be addressed in a summer without affecting the academic programs,” O’Hara said.

In a “phase one” of construction, O’Hara predicts that a third lane of traffic, renovations to the cafeteria and kitchen, building the new band and chorus areas, the new stadium, and an increase in parking would completed, costing “roughly 10 million bucks.”

More expensive aspects would be the creation of the new learning center as well as the other interior construction products. For example, moving the chapel to the front of the school would require building administrative offices in the guidance hallway. O’Hara said, “We couldn’t do just one thing without doing several things [with these projects].”

O’Hara hopes to see the academic wing renovated, as well as the construction of the new academic wing on top of the current art wing. He said, “If there is a way to do those next, I’d want to see us pursue that.”

However, timing is a key concern. O’Hara said, “My guess is that some of these projects could not be done only in the summer. Safety and the ability to continue the program are top priorities. There are people that know how to do that that we would hire.”

Over the past several months, O’Hara has been “meeting on a steady basis with past parents, past trustees, [and] other prospects that aren’t connected with John Carroll and we’re trying to interest them in what we’re going to do.”

This is shown in a meeting O’Hara had with Baltimore sportscaster, Scott Garceau. He has “no direct tie with John Carroll” but suggested to O’Hara that he “perhaps down the road could host events once the campaign becomes public.”

“This is how we’re using the advanced gifts committee. We’re finding men and women who are able to open doors with us with other people to tell the story about John Carroll and tell them where we’re trying to go. We’re trying to elicit interest,” O’Hara said.

Kate Froehlich can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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The School Newspaper of John Carroll School
$35 million campaign to remain in place despite budget cuts