Cannon School passes goal for new facilities

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 30, 2014

CONCORD — Head of Cannon School Matt Gossage announced on Jan. 23 that in just two years, the school had surpassed its goal for the $7.1 million Building Bright Futures Campaign to enhance the school’s arts, athletics and middle school facilities with five major construction projects.
The Building Bright Futures Campaign is the largest capital campaign in the school’s history, and the announcement was made to current Cannon families at the school’s annual state of the school presentation.
“We believe giving is one of the most personal activities we do as people,” said Gossage. “The faculty and staff of Cannon are humbled by the personal response of this community. The parents, grandparents, friends and alumni of Cannon, through their giving to Building Bright Futures, have transformed this campus and given our students a new set of learning opportunities.” 
In 2012, Cannon School’s Board of Trustees collectively pledged the first $1 million to the Building Bright Futures Campaign, and NASCAR Driver Jeff Burton and his wife Kim Burton signed on to chair the campaign. Last fall, a Cannon School family who wished to remain anonymous pledged a lead gift of $1 million towards the school’s new auditorium and performing arts center. Betty and Randy Marion and family further fueled the campaign with a gift of $500,000 in honor of their grandchildren to name the new Randy Marion Family Field House. As an effort that involved the entire school community, 370 current Cannon School families, grandparents, friends, alumni, faculty and staff contributed to this historic campaign for the school.
Todd Hartung, Cannon School’s director of advancement explained, “The fact that we raised over $7 million in just two years, mostly from current parents, speaks volumes about the positive experiences their children are having here at Cannon.”
Cannon School’s educational philosophy is to prepare students to embrace the challenges of an ever-changing world, and in 2012, believing that its facilities must continue to adapt to the demands of learning for its more than 900 junior kindergarten through 12th grade students, the school identified three priority areas for the Building Bright Futures Campaign: the arts, athletics and middle school.
Ground was broken on the school’s new 450-seat auditorium and performing arts center in June 2013, and the facility will be completed by the start of the 2014-2015 school year. This center will provide a gathering space for the entire Cannon community, an art gallery, a full stage and backstage, collaborative learning spaces for students in chorus, band, theater, dance and the visual arts, and state-of-the-art acoustics, audio and video capabilities.
In December 2013, construction began on expanded and modernized athletics and physical education facilities that will be completed by the start of the 2014-2015 school year. Facilities will include a new strength training and conditioning center, locker spaces and coaches’ offices, and the Randy Marion Family Field House. The new strength training and conditioning center will enable student-athletes on Cannon’s 40 sports teams to reach the next level of athletic performance, and the locker rooms and coaches’ offices will provide modern spaces to support all teams in season, and all of Cannon’s varsity teams and visiting teams. The new Randy Marion Family Field House will be a permanent welcome center with a press box, restrooms and concession stand.
Plans for the middle school expansion will transform the school’s current facilities to create a new front entrance for that division, four new classrooms, administrative offices, a student lobby and a student innovation lab. These improvements will support a middle school curriculum that teaches students to embrace the adoption of new learning tools. This expansion will be completed during the 2014-2015 school year.