A Macon private school has completed the final piece of its long-range campus renovation plan.
Stratford Academy dedicated the Daws Student Activities Center on Monday.
The building, located across from the baseball field on campus, once was used for students in first through fifth grades before they moved to the new Cantrell Lower School a year ago. After a yearlong renovation, the center opened on the first day of school in August. Now, all the finishing touches have been completed.
“This building was always the building that we didn’t want to include on a campus tour, and that is no longer true. We’re extremely proud,” said Bob Veto, the head of school.
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The building features a full-size competitive gymnasium, the second gym on Stratford’s campus. That will help with the scheduling of volleyball and basketball games and practices, said Kathleen Medlin, director of institutional advancement for the school.
The center also has locker rooms, four offices for coaches, art and music suites for preschool and lower school students, multipurpose athletic and extracurricular rooms, and space for the After School Activities Program. Middle and upper school programs will now have more room and be able to expand, she said.
“If you enter Stratford as a preschooler and you don’t leave till you graduate, this building will continually be a part of your experience,” Medlin said. “In a school, there’s something going on 24/7, so (multipurpose) space like this never goes unused for long.”
Fifty to 60 children from age 3 to fifth grade are enrolled in the school’s after-school care program. Now, they have their own home instead of having to share classroom space, said program director Betty Ann Jennings. Jerry Elder, a preschool/lower school music teacher, said his new music room has a better design and acoustics, and he has more room to work with the students.
The Student Activities Center is named for Jim Daws, president of Sierra Development Group and a longtime Stratford supporter and board of trustees member. Both of his sons graduated from the school.
“My goal over the years was to provide Stratford with the best athletic and academic facilities that we could afford,” Daws said. “It’s been very rewarding to see the transformation of this campus from when my boys first started in 1999.”
The center is the culmination of a campus master plan developed in 2005, said Tom McAfee, co-chairman of the project campaign. Since then, the school has added the Science Center, Cantrell Lower School, John Paul Jones Field House, Maurice Barnett Golf Pavilion, Jaime Kaplan Tennis Complex and a loop roadway through the campus.
In total, $11 million was raised for the multiple building projects, said Mary Ellen Grossnickle, chairwoman of the board of trustees.