Thank you to the over 140 community members who have offered their input during the initial phase of our Master Facilities Planning process with Jim Childress and Beth Hedde from Centerbrook Architects.

To recap the charge to Centerbrook: they have been hired to guide us in the creation of a plan that will allow us to improve, adapt, and answer our big questions:

  • what do we envision will be the solutions to our gym and arts buildings?
  • how can we capitalize on this process of planning to consider other buildings and integrate architectural solutions to advance our strategic plan and goals for teaching and learning?
  • how can we understand our current site and facilities conditions so that we can anticipate what we may need to contend with in the future?
  • and how can we realistically estimate costs so that the Board can prioritize and phase projects in an informed manner?

On Saturday, February 22, fifty BFS community members – from all of BFS’s stakeholder groups including faculty, Board members, current parents, former parents, students, alumni, Steering Committee members, and Buckingham Monthly Meeting – gathered as a “Workshop Committee” for a three-hour meeting with Jim and Beth.

The following is drawn from my opening remarks to the committee:

As we celebrate our 225th year, we have arrived at a moment that asks us – the current generation at BFS –  to hold the school and its future promise with great care and to pick up and address long-held questions.  We are asked to imagine what we wish to preserve and what we know we must build upon and change to ensure that the school can best live its mission and be sustainable – prepared to best support our core values, our community, our children and teachers, the spirit that is BFS, and teaching and learning for generations to come.  We are all the beneficiaries of the vision, care, and intentional designs and buildings of generations of stewards before us.  It is now our turn to bring our best selves and all that we care about, value, and consider for BFS to this endeavor.

Last year, we came together to forge a shared vision for the future of our school – Realizing the Promise: The Strategic Plan for Buckingham Friends School.  We established four overarching goals that we identified as essential to realizing that vision.  Goal 4: Resources – By 2023, BFS will have stewarded all its resources – financial, campus, and talent – for a sustainable future.  One strategy to reach this goal is to “revitalize and/or update campus facilities and grounds in environmentally proactive ways that improve aesthetics and functionality.”

Five testimonies frame core values for Friends: Simplicity – Peace – Integrity – Community – Equality/Equity – and Stewardship.  On the TESTIMONY of STEWARDSHIP – “Friends strive to use God’s gifts wisely, with gifts conceived in the broadest of terms. These gifts include our talents and our possessions, as well as our natural environment. Friends believe that such gifts are not ours alone. To Friends, good stewardship means taking care of what has been given, not just for ourselves, but for the people around us and for future generations as well. To live with simplicity and integrity, we need to do a good job taking care of the things we own and use. Friends believe it is important leave the world a better place.” (The American Friends Service Committee)

The following query regarding stewardship is found in our book – Quaker and Spiritual life at Buckingham Friends School (being updated this year to reflect our current community and new mission statement) – What can I do to help care for Buckingham Friends School now that will make a difference in our next 200 years? – Again, this is our moment to exercise stewardship.”

I send great thanks to every one of the 140+ community members who have already contributed their integrity, thoughtful participation, creativity, and time.  Centerbook will add everyone’s valued input to that which they have gathered already as they continue their process to facilitate our work in creating a plan for our future.  We can all look forward to their return and continued engagement with us in March.

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