Garrison Forest School (GFS) received a $5 million gift to support several ongoing and future projects, including a full renovation of the main Upper School building and the construction of a new dormitory, both of which are slated for completion this summer. Gifted by an anonymous alumna donor, the donation represents the largest single philanthropic gift in the independent school’s 109-year history.
“The renovation of the Elinor Purves McLennan Library, the construction of the new dormitory and the complete renovation of the Upper School’s main building are projects designed to serve our students by making sure that our facilities match the high quality of our academic, residential and extracurricular programs,” said Head of School Chris Hughes.
GFS broke ground on the new dormitory earlier this month with a completion date of July 2019. The dorm will house 24 students and includes a student commons, a kitchen-dining area, and several flexible meeting and conference spaces. The dorm will also feature three large faculty apartments, which will allow the school to add to the number of faculty members who currently reside on campus.
The school will also complete construction on the second phase of the Upper School renovation plan this summer. The first phase, a renovation of Garrison Forest’s McLennan Library, was completed in 2018. This summer, the school’s main Upper School building will be completely renovated to modernize the science labs and relocate the math department to be adjacent to the labs, allowing the students to benefit from the increased synergy between both departments. The project will also include new language classrooms on the first floor, as well as renovated spaces for the Academic Resources Center (ARC), Residential Life offices, Counseling office, new meeting rooms and several administrative and faculty offices.
Located on 110 acres in Owings Mills, Md., Garrison Forest is an all-girls’ K-12 day and boarding school with a coed Preschool. Among the school’s signature programs are the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) partnership with Johns Hopkins, a nationally recognized riding program, and a renowned polo program (GFS is the only girls’ school in the United States to offer polo).
President of the Board Kit Jackson ’83 attributed much of the success Garrison Forest has experienced over the last year to the work of Chris Hughes, who began his tenure as 12th Head of School last July. “Chris has made wonderful connections with the GFS community since his arrival, both locally and as he has traveled and met with alumnae, past parents and prospective students nationally and abroad,” says Ms. Jackson. “He embodies the warmth and spirit of our school, and this gift is indicative of the confidence we have in his leadership and the excitement that our community has for Garrison Forest’s next phase.”
Mr. Hughes is both thrilled with the incredible generosity of the community since his arrival and energized by the opportunities ahead. “I am grateful for the support of the entire GFS community, and for the vision and generosity of this wonderful donor in particular. This gift serves both as an affirmation of the good work the school is doing today and as a charge to us to continue our efforts as we look to the future,” says Mr. Hughes.
For more information about the Garrison Forest School, visit the website at https://www.gfs.org/.