A great transformation is underway at The Friends’ School Commercial Road campus.
The School’s Master Plan has a bold vision to significantly enhance our students’ educational experience and environment. In 2021, the Campus Redevelopment Phase One commenced, which involves:
- Building a new multi-purpose Sports Centre; and
- Establishing a new learning centre on the site of the WN Oats Gymnasium
These new facilities are vital to support the School’s vision of providing a world-class, Quaker co-education for our students. Importantly, this development also addresses capacity and accessibility challenges on the Commercial Road campus.
As we complete and celebrate 135 years of students making a positive difference locally, nationally and globally, we are proud to announce, Illuminate – Campaign for The Friends’ School.
Illuminate provides an opportunity for our community to show leadership and vision to enable our school to be the best it can be. Let your inner light shine and show your support for this transformational $2 million philanthropic investment in The Friends’ School.
Like the Torch in the School’s iconic crest;
Although the light it sheds is that of learning, its main purpose is to give the light of Peace and Goodwill to the whole world. We are not merely carrying the torch – We are the torch. We must give of ourselves if we are to give light. Let us do our duty and hand on a brightly burning torch
Architectural impressions of the new WN Oats Centre
In 2016 The Board of Governors approved a Master Plan that recommended large scale revisions across the School as part of a major renewal of our teaching and learning facilities.
The resulting Campus Redevelopment Phase One program comprises:
- A new Sports Centre on the top tennis courts.
- A new learning centre on the site of the current WN Oats Gymnasium.
- Resurfacing the bottom tennis courts to competition level.
The architectural plans are truly impressive. The building program has been costed at $12M. The School has committed savings and borrowings but there is a funding shortfall of $1.5M which the School is seeking from our community.
Although transforming our built environment is our urgent priority, Friends’ will always be committed to growing our scholarships and bursaries capacity to attract and support talented and deserving students who enrich our campus life and strengthen the diversity of our student body.
Accordingly, The Board of Governors approved a Capital Campaign with a target of $2M to fund the $1.5M shortfall in the building works, and seek $500K to enhance our scholarship and bursary funds.
With the new Sports Centre nearing completion, we move into the Community Phase of the Capital Campaign where we seek to fund the $1.5M shortfall from our community members. This will enable us to complete the redevelopment of the WN Oats Centre into a new teaching and learning centre.
By working and giving together we can ensure that our students have the best possible facilities and programs for their all-round development, learning and enrichment. It is up to each of us to ensure Friends’ continues to stand apart as a leader in values-based and progressive co-education.
The transformed WN Oats Centre
Flexibility in the learning spaces will enable educators to use a multitude of teaching and learning configurations to respond to student learning needs.
The existing WN Oats Gymnasium will be transformed into the new WN Oats Centre, accommodating contemporary classrooms and learning spaces, addressing capacity and access issues and fostering best practice teaching and learning for our students.
New spaces, including seven classrooms and two teaching areas for Access & Inclusion (formerly learning support), will provide our students and staff with the much needed room they need for effective learning. The new Centre will absorb 25% of lessons across the Campus and create a central learning ‘corridor’ at its heart.
Flexible learning spaces will provide a multitude of teaching and learning configurations, allowing for a greater range of learning engagements; extending and challenging students. ‘Teaching walls’ and ‘working walls’ with smart technology that fosters collaboration and creativity will enhance learning.
Covered walkways and lift access from the Main Carpark into the new WN Oats Centre, through North Block to the new Revell Sports Centre will address the majority of our access challenges.
Re-use of the building shell allows for a magnificent central loft void and generous staircase. An abundance of natural light, simple colour palettes, and indoor living garden walls will foster a calm and peaceful environment for connection, community and learning.
Visibility between classrooms and learning spaces will generate a feeling of inclusion, and a sense of place and community for staff and students that encourages enhanced positive social behaviour.
Education in its richest sense is as much a matter of atmosphere as of definite instruction, and an enthusiasm for any kind of knowledge is often more contagious, and fruitful for educational purposes, than the most thorough training in the classroom and the laboratory.
J. Francis Mather, Speech night, 1923
The new Revell Sports Centre features:
- High-quality facilities and services for many sport and co-curricular programs.
- An ASF/Horner Sports Flooring Systems PR3 Advanced sprung timber floor in a Tas Oak finish.
- Increased space around the court perimeter providing better safety for students and spectators.
- Seating to accommodate students, staff and spectators and a ‘viewing area’ on upper level.
- Disability access and two unisex disability shower / toilet rooms that can also be used for all students. Extended outdoor ledges for all-weather cover and a welcoming reception and viewing area.
- Two new learning spaces for health and physical education classes.
- A multitude of teaching and learning configurations to optimise student learning.
- A sports, health and wellbeing precinct, with it being co-located to Friends’ Health & Fitness
- Full size courts including netball, badminton, basketball, volleyball and indoor soccer
- State of the art, automated Basketball system affixed to the ceiling.
“I am thrilled to be part of a school that places a priority on the health and wellbeing of its students and staff and I am excited by the opportunities the new Sports Centre will provide.” – Shaun O’Rourke | Deputy Principal
Scholarship and bursary funding
Our financial assistance programs reflect the shared values of our community who often wish to ‘pay it forward’ in gratitude for their Friends’ education. Increased scholarship and bursary funds will assist Friends’ to attract and support talented and deserving students who enrich our campus life and inspire us to greater heights.
We will also continue to support our rural and regional community for whom the costs of a quality education are challenging and continue our commitment to the diversity of the student body which is essential for the intellectual, social, cultural and moral strength of The Friends’ School.
To read more about the recent Impact of Giving at the School, please click here
Through prudent long-range financial planning, the Board of Governors has been accumulating resources for the revitalisation of our built environment.
This includes the retention of a portion of our operating budget in a capital reserve, and the reduction of debt from previous capital works to allow for future borrowing capacity. These transformational changes will not be possible, however, without the help of our community.
Through generous early community support, we are excited to announce that we are already almost 60% towards our fundraising goals. We thank all who have already contributed.
Campus Redevelopment Phase 1 target $1,500,000
Community philanthropy already received $860,400
Illuminate campaign target $639,600
Scholarships and Bursaries target $500,000
Community philanthropy already received $287,646
Illuminate campaign target $212,354
YOUR GIFT OR PLEDGE
We ask you to pledge an amount appropriate to your means and generosity to help us achieve these goals. Your gift may be a single once-only sum, or be contributed in instalments over the next two years. Either is tax deductible.
The Illuminate Campaign has been launched with great confidence, and with personal pledges from members of The Board of Governors. Please join us to realise these opportunities for Friends’ students now, and into the future.
Unwin realised that the school environment could exercise a subtle but pervasive influence on the outlook and development of young minds. His own contribution to that environment was considerable, through his input of ideas in the architecture of new buildings, through his own quite considerable talent displayed, for example, on the walls of the Hodgkin dining-hall and through his personal attention to such details as the colour and design of tablemats for the dining-room. People who visited the school sensed this creative and stimulating atmosphere. – Bill Oats, The Rose & the Waratah (1979)
Frequently Asked Questions
Since our foundation in 1887, every generation of parents and alumni has supported the School through campaigns which have provided students with facilities and bursaries to enable them to thrive. It is the hallmark of all great independent schools around the world to advance student learning and growth in partnership with their community. Fees cover the regular running costs, giving through special campaigns from time to time enable us to provide an appropriately resourced environment for Friends’ students. Simply raising the fees significantly for all families is not a fair or equitable option. Also, gifts to the Campaign are tax deductible.
Construction of the WN Oats Centre has commenced and is scheduled for completion by December 2022, ready for Term 1 2023. Given the Centre will be providing additional learning spaces on the Commercial Road campus we can use current classrooms during construction, minimising disruption to students. The School does not plan to increase enrolments. Rather, the new WN Oats Centre is being built to provide modern, fit-for-purpose, flexible learning spaces that will create the opportunity for enhanced student engagement and educational outcomes.
The School has and will continue to be actively seeking philanthropic funds in support of bursaries to support our families in need. It is an on-going priority through the COVID-19 Emergency Fees Relief Fund as well as needs based bursaries such as The Friends’ Fellowship and The Mather Endowment Trust. The Campaign also includes a bursary fund goal. However we are very conscious that students also need appropriate health, sport, physical education and learning facilities when they are at Friends’ so raising funds to enable us to build the new WN Oats Centre is a very high priority and immediate need right now.
The projected cost of the entire project is $12 million. We are therefore seeking to raise approximately $2 million from the Friends’ community. We will only be successful if our community believes in the project and is able to donate sacrificially in order to achieve these outcomes for our students. All donations to our campaign goals are 100% tax deductible.
The remaining funds will be raised through careful financial planning, cash reserves and prudent borrowings. This is a similar approach to the funding strategy taken when the School undertook the building of The Farrall Centre (our last campaign in 2008-2009), although in that case the School was fortunate to also be able to access Federal Government funding made available after the Global Financial Crisis. No such government funding exists currently. Further, the extent of borrowing will depend on the amount raised throughout this campaign.
The urgency of the Campus Redevelopment Phase 1 project combined with very low interest rates and a commitment to Friends’ future make it a good time in many ways. Friends’ remains committed to education now, and into the future, and major delays will significantly impact on our students’ learning experience at the School.
School fees support the normal activities of the School, particularly payment of salaries and ongoing annual maintenance, with a modest annual provision for future capital works. The School needs to fundraise for larger developments such as these to provide every child with the best possible learning environment. All major School facilities (eg. Hobartville restoration, North Block, The Farrall Centre, Bell Street Grounds) were funded through the generous support of the Friends’ community.
Planning for the Commercial Road Campus Redevelopment began in late 2016. The School decided to build the new Sports Centre first, then re-purpose the current gym into new learning spaces. This construction timing ensures we are not without a Sports Centre or current classrooms throughout, which is very important for the continuity of and minimal disruption to our curricular and co-curricular programs. A Development Application for the new Sports Centre and repurposed WN Oats Centre was approved by Hobart City Council in late 2020. Construction began in March 2021 and will finish by the end of 2022. The School has commenced construction of the WN Oats Centre, with the project scheduled for completion by the end of 2022 ready for students Term 1 2023.
Pledges are gift commitments made over several years (typically two to five). A pledge allows benefactors to spread their gift over time and plan payments flexibly according to their circumstances. Pledges enable the School to plan its cash flow with some confidence and not have to approach people every year. Pledges and single gifts are fully tax deductible.
We are working closely with the architects and builders to carefully plan the building program to minimise the disruption and impact on the students and staff. Both our architects and builders have considerable experience working in schools to create a safe worksite that does not disturb or disrupt daily school life. The noisiest tasks will be generally undertaken in school breaks or during non-teaching times. Already they are planning how to best manage student foot traffic. Detailed advance notice will be provided to current families as construction progresses. We also see opportunities for some educational activities e.g. painting hoardings, measuring concrete and other material, and tracking the project.
Purpose & Concerns
The Friends’ School is a coeducational Quaker school based on fundamental values such as the intrinsic worth of each person, the recognition of ‘that of God’ in everyone, the desirability of simplicity and the need to establish peace and justice.
As a learning community, we are concerned for the academic, cultural, physical, social, emotional and spiritual development of each person in our care.
We seek to help our students develop as people who will think clearly, act with integrity, make decisions for themselves, be sensitive to the needs of others and the environment, be strong in service and hold a global perspective.
We believe that these aims can best be achieved with the active support of all members of our School community.