Foundations For The Future
On a cold winter evening, warm light dappled the snowbanks along Library Road. Inside the 1928 open-concept brick building, the hollow echo of a ping-pong ball signaled a raucous game between students and faculty, while other School community members made Chinese dumplings and sang karaoke as part of a Lunar New Year celebration. Such camaraderie and laughter are clear signs of the success of the new Friedman Community Center.
Though Tully and Elise Friedman are not graduates of St. Paul’s School, their children are. They all saw in this project the manifestation of the School values they hold most dear. “As we looked at schools and looked closely at St. Paul’s, we liked the openness and intellectual environment here, and the fact that the students were encouraged to interact with each other and with faculty,” explains Elise. “There is a real effort to include people rather than put them into silos.”
Thanks to the Friedman family and the 28 additional donors who took part, the completed center showcases SPS community life at its best. Used first as a dining hall and then as the former home to the Fine Arts Department and gallery, the estimated $9 million refurbishment project has transformed the original structure into a modern, multi-purpose facility reflecting the heart of the School community. The vibrant space brings students, faculty, and staff together under one roof to collaborate, relax, and celebrate.
The Friedman gift is one of four leadership gifts made by parents since the end of the School’s last campaign in 2014. The Friedman Community Center joins the Penner Center for Innovative Teaching, the Crumpacker Gallery, and the Fine Arts Building renovations as recent improvement projects on buildings and grounds. They all point to a shared belief and confidence in the enduring legacy of a St. Paul’s School education.
“We were told about the New England tradition of laying firewood for the winter, knowing you may not get to use it yourself,” recalls Tully. “Our family has benefited from the work of people who have preceded us at St. Paul’s, teachers, administrators, and donors. Hopefully, this will benefit generations of students at St. Paul’s way beyond our involvement.”