Pace Academy launches $32 million campaign with Arthur Blank lead gift

By Maria Saporta

As Pace Academy started its new school year this week, it also launched its most ambitious capital campaign in its history.

The private school’s “Aim High” campaign has a goal of raising $32 million to build a new Upper School facility in time for the 2014-2015 academic year. The 75,000-square-foot building, which will be called the Arthur M. Blank Family Upper School, is part of Pace Academy’s long-range master campus plan.

The Arthur M. Blank Family Upper School will be constructed in the footprint of the school’s existing Upper School overlooking W. Paces Ferry Road and next to Pace Academy’s iconic Castle (Images provided by AniMagic Productions)

Already, Pace families, alumni, foundations and other friends of the school have raised more than $22 million toward the campaign goal. Blank, a co-founder of the Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons, provided the campaign’s lead gift, but Pace did not disclose its value.

“As the parent of a Pace graduate and three current Pace students, I have seen firsthand the impact the school has on the lives of its students,” Blank said in a statement.

The Woodruff Library will provide inspiring spaces for research, reading and study groups.

“Pace is a community dedicated to excellence in every arena, and its focus on outstanding academics, close student-teacher relationships, service learning, diversity and global education sets it apart,” Blank continued. “This new Upper School facility will ensure the school’s continued excellence for generations to come. My family and I are thankful to be part of the Pace family and excited to contribute to the new Upper School.”

Pace Academy’s Student Commons will serve as a hub for Upper School students.

The Upper School is being designed by Pace Academy alumnus Sandy Cooper of Collins Cooper Carusi Architects. The facility will provide students with nearly double the space of the current Upper School and will include the Woodruff Library, a gift of Jane Woodruff, and Buck and Ann Woodruff. The building’s crowning jewel, the library will overlook W. Paces Ferry Road from three stories and will be equipped with 21st century technology.

The facility also will include the Student Commons, a 1,500-square-foot place for community building and collaborative learning, serving as a hub for all Upper School students. The building’s Academic Resource Center will feature private tutoring rooms and a learning lab, and state-of-the-art classrooms and science labs will allow students to use cutting-edge technology and gain hands-on experience in a safe environment.

The Arthur M. Blank Family Upper School’s Student Commons will overlook the courtyard and Pace Gardens

“Pace Academy has long produced graduates who matriculate to the finest colleges and universities and who embody our mission: to create prepared, confident citizens of the world,” said Fred Assaf, head of the school, in a statement. “The quality of The Arthur M. Blank Family Upper School will match the Pace Academy educational experience and provide our school family with a space that inspires creativity, innovation and academic excellence.”

Pace Academy is a college preparatory independent day school founded in 1958 in the heart of Buckhead. The school serves 1,070 students from pre-first grade through 12th grade.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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