There are many benefits to a unified campus. First and foremost, GDS is a community. Having all of our students, faculty and staff, and parents focused on one campus will only serve to grow this sense of community and provide endless opportunities for connection.
One campus will allow for:
- Cost and time efficiencies. The cost of maintaining two campuses, including transportation and maintenance, is a drain on the GDS budget. Additionally, many of our parents, teachers, administrators, coaches, and staff divide their time between the two campuses.
- Curriculum and professional development alignment. We strive to better integrate and align our curriculum and professional development across divisions. One campus will improve those efforts.
- Cross-grade connections. There is great strength in cross-division, cross-grade, and cross-generational friendships, talent-sharing, collaboration, and tutoring. When our HS students connect with third graders to create Valentine’s cards for veterans or play sports together; when our fourth graders meet with their kindergarten buddies; when all three divisions join together for an all-school choral concert—these are the moments we treasure. On one campus, we envision more of these one-on-on moments—and also all-school events.
- Expanded and innovative classroom and outdoor spaces for LMS students. Though the plan for the inside of the LMS building is evolving, the design will follow current best practices geared toward learning, innovation, and collaboration. The building will have distinct spaces designed around the program needs at each developmental level.
- Expanded space use for HS students. Although the HS will remain in its current building, there are many benefits to HS students in the new campus setting, including a second playing field, second gym, and performance space. Lastly, when all-school administrative offices move to the new LMS building, the High School will gain more academic program space.
The primary focus of the school now and in the coming years will be providing the best education for our kids, remaining committed to our mission, and reaching the goals laid out in the strategic plan for the school’s continued growth.
At the same time, the Board will be working with Russell to ensure the future growth and health of the school and all students will benefit from the creation of that legacy.
The day-to-day experience of our students continues to be our highest priority. Work on property development around the HS will not be a detriment to the maintenance and improvement of the LMS campus. Scheduled maintenance at the LMS will continue as planned, and renovations will continue as needed. Our commitment to improving our existing spaces will continue for as long as we are on MacArthur Boulevard.
While we are building a unified campus that will bring all of our divisions together, we are also continually focused on ensuring separate and safe identities for each division. Our high school students will still enjoy an “open campus,” while our middle and lower school students will not. The new campus will allow each division to have distinct learning spaces, and direct access to shared spaces like the gym, cafeteria, and art rooms. Our future home is being designed to avoid the situations that currently exist at the LMS, where our youngest children need to navigate through the lively halls filled with seventh and eighth graders to get to the gym. In the new building, separation of the divisions is key to the design, but creating spaces for coming together is also essential. What we gain in the future is the ability to be intentional about when our littlest students interact with our older students.
With the closure of Safeway, construction across from the HS was inevitable. With GDS in control of the construction, GDS can ensure minimal impact for our students, faculty, and parents at the HS. No construction is being pursued within the HS facility.