The Huss Center brings excitement to the community

Head+of+School+Bryn+Roberts+poses+in+the+RedLeaf+Art+Commons+of+The+Huss+Center+for+Performing+Arts.+%E2%80%9CWe+wanted+to+raise+money%0Afor+something+we+really+needed+for+the+students+in+the+community%2C%E2%80%9D+Roberts+said.+

Gitanjali Raman

Head of School Bryn Roberts poses in the RedLeaf Art Commons of The Huss Center for Performing Arts. “We wanted to raise money for something we really needed for the students in the community,” Roberts said.

Gitanjali Raman, Online Managing Editor

The completion of the Huss Center stands as a proud accomplishment and beautiful space in the community, but it is just the first of multiple building phases envisioned for the Randolph Campus.

The Building Futures Campaign is the official title of the large project planned to improve the school and its facilities. “It is a campaign to talk with donors about the building of facilities,” Head of School Bryn Roberts said.

“People perceive SPA as a top academic institution, whose teaching facilities, especially in the Upper School, aren’t equal to its program,” Director of Institutional Advancement Dorothy Goldie said.

The other phases of the Building Futures Campaign include renovating the Upper School, building a field house, and improving Drake Arena.

“It’s very possible that there could be a new wing for the math and science classrooms. It’s very possible that all of the spaces in the Upper School would be drastically remodeled for languages and the humanities,” Goldie said. “But it’s very tentative.”

Campaigning for the Huss Center began in 2011. “The Board of Trustees said, ‘Let’s go ahead with [the Performing Arts Center],’ and that’s when campaigning actually began [for the building],” Roberts said.

The renovation and building plan did not begin in 2011 but nearly a decade ago. “There was a master building plan for the campus and [the performing arts center] was just one element of it.”

People perceive SPA as a top academic institution, whose teaching facilities, especially in the Upper School, aren’t equal to its program”

— Director of Institutional Advancement Dorothy Goldie

Building a performing arts center had long been a top priority for SPA. During the years 2008-09, there was an [economic] recession; “We waited until we got through the beginning of the recession, then we enacted the plan,” Roberts said.

“It was very interesting when we did the Huss Center. It was overwhelmingly clear that donors agreed it was a top priority for the school,” Goldie said.

The cost for adding new math and science wings while redoing the history and language wings is estimated at $20-30 million. This is still a tentative plan and the new building is being drawn up.

Donors provide the essential capital for these projects. “The source of money for all capital projects like the Huss Center or a new Upper School comes from donors. It’s important that [an institutions’s] donors agree with the priorities that the [school] sets, or they won’t contribute money, “ Goldie said.

Donor contributions are apparent in the Huss Center, with names like Driscoll and Redleaf on commons spaces and other donors etched into the red curving panels on the wall (above):“We wanted to raise money for something we really needed for the students in the community and we wanted to do it without getting any debt or borrowing money.”

“Within a hour of the opening assembly, there were kids sitting in those lounges down there. They were just using it and it seemed like they had been there forever,” Goldie said.

Taking a quick walk by the lounge in the Huss Center, a smell reminiscent of a new car still lingers but all the good seats in the room are taken.

The Huss Center Gala opens the facility to a broader community on Oct. 10 with performances from the Fine Arts students. “It’s going to be really inspiring,” Goldie said. “When you’re in a facility that top notch, it just changes everything.”