Exciting Progress Continues on Plans for the New Building

It’s full steam ahead on the New Building project. The building committee selected our builder, Gilbane, Inc. Gilbane is one of the largest privately held family-owned construction and real estate development firms in the industry. They have come on board and joined our architect, John Poe, and our project manager, Bill DiMarino.

We are thrilled to share these photos as the bulldozer arrived on campus on April 10th and demolition of the existing buildings began. This is the start of something real and exciting! The start of construction is right around the corner — our estimated start date of construction is late August with the completion date projected to be August 2018. The intent is to start the 2018-19 school year with the new building ready for occupancy. At the time of this writing, the demolition of the chapel is now complete.

The new building will provide much needed additional classroom and professional space housed in a new multi-use campus center that will be used as for gatherings, school-wide functions, speaker programs, and the enhancement of enrichment programs. The building will provide the Farragut community with an important resource in today’s modern educational landscape, bringing together under one roof many existing programs which have emerged over time in response to increasing desire by students and parents for a well-rounded educational experience.

The scope of this project represents much more than just a building in the center of our campus. Among the many benefits of the project, is the work to the main car circle which will undergo a complete reconfiguration including significant widening of the drive and moving the exit slightly north. The car circle will remain drivable throughout the year as the work will be done in small sections. We will also drastically increase our parking capacity, making daily life easier for everyone.

Signage in and around campus will be updated for a new look and more importantly improved directional signs for visitors on campus. We have already installed new signs at the corner of Park St and Country Club Road thanks to an anonymous gift.

All the work you see on campus thus far has been initial site work, and you will continue to see progress. This is a very exciting project for us and the trickle down effect of an addition like this will have a huge impact on the school. We will have additional classroom space, additional office space and room for increased dormitories will be created.

Campaign Update

The fundraising effort in support of the project — The New Building Campaign for Admiral Farragut Academy — is moving ahead on all fronts. Commitments from parent families, alumni, and friends continue to increase. We are grateful for the gifts we received in response to the article in the winter edition of Reveille announcing the campaign. These gifts — along with so many others — reflect the excitement shared by all for this transformative change and much-needed space on our beautiful campus.

The Campaign has reached $2.4 million toward the $4.0 million goal (60% of goal). Mailings, signage, and campaign updates are promoting the importance of supporting the Campaign and the benefits of the new building to the entire Farragut community. Volunteer committees representing student families and alumni are hard at work promoting the Campaign and reaching out directly to prospective donors.

The Class of 1961 is our first class to come together with a class-wide commitment to the project. Volunteers Mike Kolchin (Pine Beach Campus) and Dave Arms (St. Petersburg Campus), are working with Development Officer CAPT Tom McClelland, to raise a substantial class gift. Their leadership is greatly appreciated and they plan to challenge other classes to meet or exceed their total in both dollars and participation. Class donations will be recognized in a prominent display in the New Building.

Donor Highlight

There are many stories of wonderful generosity to tell. One donor was truly instrumental in kicking off The New Building Campaign. Board member Gary Damkoehler was the first board member to step up with a leadership commitment and helped to motivate others to rally and follow his lead. Gary and his wife Gail have been generous supporters of Admiral Farragut Academy for many years and are the proud grandparents of Alexa Smith ‘14, Kyle Damkoehler ‘16 and current cadet Kyle Smith ‘20.

Gary expressed the importance of their commitment.

“Education is the single most important thing to us. Gail and I have always been big contributors to further education. We feel strongly about supporting our own family and have contributed to all of our niece’s and nephew’s college education. So far we have supported seven of them through college, including one nephew who recently received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry. We could not be prouder!”

The Damkoehlers are extremely pleased with the education their grandchildren have and are receiving at Farragut.

Regarding the new building at Farragut, Gary said, “The addition of this building is long past due for Farragut. We need to improve and update our facilities. I hope when we finish this round and this facility, we have our eyes on further facility updates particularly focusing on our beautiful bayside property.”

Look out for future Campaign Updates to bring you news of other gifts and reports of Campaign progress. Together we are building the future of Admiral Farragut Academy.

To learn more about The New Building Campaign for Admiral Farragut Academy, please call Sandy Warden at 727-384-5501 or email Headmaster Robert J Fine, Jr. at rfine@farragut.org.