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Full STEAM Ahead Capital Campaign

The Projects of the Full STEAM Ahead Capital Campaign

Campaign overview & update

The fundraising campaign to reinvent academic and support services across district buildings is officially under way following the kick-off of the Full STEAM Ahead Capital Campaign.

“We are thrilled by the level of participation so far,” said Dr. Anjali Gupta (’99), who is co-chairing the campaign with husband Anil. “As people hear the story behind the campaign and see the possibilities, they are enthusiastically joining the rush.”

A June 2 ceremonial groundbreaking brought the campaign and its goals into the public eye. In subsequent months as demolition and construction began, the planning committee worked behind the scenes to ensure the $2.2 million campaign succeeded. In the campaign’s “public” phase, more traditional donor outreach occurs. This is where fundraising focuses on gifts of any size as well as efforts by individuals working together as groups.

Past and future donations will make possible a range of enhancements, primarily at the Junior/Senior High School. Following the groundbreaking, the committee formally expanded the campaign’s scope to include the Elementary School. Projects there range from new equipment for the art room and 6th Grade science classroom to a new STEAM lab and expanded Makerspace.

“The Elementary School projects will create the perfect matching bookend to the Junior/Senior High School,” said Dr. Gupta. “We are creating a continuum that will enrich students in these subjects from Kindergarten through their senior year. That K-12 STEAM pathway will become a defining characteristic of what it means to receive an Ottawa Hills education.”

The STEAM in the campaign title refers to science, technology, engineering, art, and math. According to the Ohio Department of Education, STEAM education “is an integrated approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are learned through real-world, project-based experiences.”

Students use those subjects to make authentic connections between school, community, and work experiences. That is certainly the case at Ottawa Hills Local Schools, which regularly receives statewide and national recognition for STEAM achievements by students, teachers, 
and programs.

“Alumni are extremely proud of our school district, and are showing it through amazing gifts,” said Jackie (Hylant) Berenzweig (’93), president of the Ottawa Hills Schools Foundation. “Everyone understands the importance to this 
Village of sustaining excellence and supporting tradition.”

The public campaign starts nearly one year after Villagers approved a $8.5 million bond levy. That levy made it possible to sell bonds to raise money to build The Foundry (originally known as the Learning Commons) and to make extensive upgrades to existing STEAM classrooms. Some of the bond money raised will be used to install heating, cooling, and ventilation systems throughout the Junior/Senior High School, sections of which opened in 1939.

In addition to the physical changes, there are other visual signs of progress. Earlier this summer, signs went up announcing the campaign: one on the construction fencing along Kenwood Avenue and another on one of the temporary classrooms in the building’s parking lot. And a group of 36 parents and other Villagers working together as The Foundry Design Team are exploring projects and programs for the new space.

Since mid-summer, many visitors to the Junior/Senior High School have been able to see firsthand the campaign’s progress. Walls are gone and new spaces created, including the shell for what will become The Foundry. In addition, The Gupta Family Science & Research Corridor is up and running.

Construction will pick up intensity around January 2022 and proceed quickly into summer. Assuming all deadlines are met, the plan is for an August ribbon-cutting for the completed project before the start of the 2022-2023 academic year.