Salisbury Academy goes public with capital campaign, $1.25 million match

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, April 20, 2022

SALISBURY — Salisbury Academy started its new capital campaign by announcing the largest gift it has ever received.

The school has received a commitment from the Wallace Family Foundation to match the first $1.25 million raised as part of the campaign.

Head of School Beverly Fowler said the school has received six-figure donations in the past, sometimes raised by groups, but the school has never received a gift of more than $1 million before.

“It’s the first of this kind,” Fowler said.

Fowler said a large matching gift like this encourages other people to support the campaign as well. Typically, capital campaigns begin with a quiet phase before going public, but Fowler said the gift allowed the school to move to the public phase more quickly.

The money will go toward the $3 million goal the school has set for a campaign it has titled “Opening Doors.”

Fowler said $3 million figure will completely cover building a new 8,500-square-foot facility that will house the school’s junior kindergarten, kindergarten and planned 3-year-old early education program.

The building would also house a new center the school plans to use to focus on community wellness. Fowler said the school would offer parent support groups and host guest speakers as examples of the programming at the center.

The money would also allow the school to fulfill a goal it began in 2020: to start a high school program. The school currently has students in junior kindergarten through eighth grade. In a news release, the school said it “entered into conversations and is exploring potential partnerships with local public and private education institutions.”

The school is expecting to have more details to release about the program later.

“When you think of the typical cost for a high school you’re looking at a new building and all the facilities and the programs that come with it,” Fowler said. “Our model is more innovative in the fact that we’re going to use an existing building and use our community partnerships to help offset some of the traditional costs you would have for a startup.”

Fowler said early education came on the table because of calls from families looking for that, as well as from strategic planning on the part of the school and from a feasibility study.

Fowler said school officials are confident they will be able to support the new programs.

“We’ve done some financial long range planning as well,” Fowler said. “When you look at creating that 3-year-old class you certainly create a financial model where the tuition and students enrolled cover the cost of faculty salaries. With the new building being covered by campaign donations, we’ll go into that building debt free.”

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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