A Friends school, pre-K to 12, on 47 acres in East Falls, Philadelphia


McFarlands Boost Plan for Campus Transformation

McFarlands Boost Plan for Campus Transformation

Duncan and Ellen McFarland have increased to $10,000,000 their commitment to Penn Charter’s $75 million How Far? capital campaign.

“The fact that the capital campaign has come forward with such momentum and success inspires us,” Duncan M. McFarland OPC ’61 said of the decision to double his campaign gift. “We want to motivate other people who share the vision for Penn Charter’s future.”

The McFarlands’ first gift to the How Far? capital campaign was unrestricted, meaning it can be used to support any one of the goals of the campaign, including program, financial aid and faculty.

However, their new $5 million gift is specifically for the building projects that will transform our campus and position Penn Charter for another 50 years.

“Ellen and Duncan McFarland’s increased gift is indicative of their belief in the future of Penn Charter and it is inspiration for us to accomplish all that we envision,” said Head of School Darryl J. Ford. “I am thankful for their commitment, and I both value and treasure Duncan’s friendship and support of me.”

Penn Charter’s campus is 47 acres of green space and landmark buildings in the fifth largest city in the U.S. That is extraordinary.

The How Far? capital campaign, including the McFarland gift, supports a campus transformation that would simultaneously protect and develop the campus by:

  • Erecting two new buildings designed for the changing needs of our academic program, a new lower school and an Athletics & Wellness Center.

  • Expanding outdoor learning spaces and playing fields.

  • Improving practical issues like watershed management and parking.

The new lower school will be curriculum-driven, child-centered and light-filled—designed specifically for teaching and learning today and for what research tells us about the way children learn and grow.

The new building will feature:

  • Learning communities on three levels, with pre-K, K and 1 on the first floor, grades 2 and 3 on the second floor, and grades 4 and 5 on the third floor.

  • Multilevel library and spaces for language, art, science, music, studio, movement, IdeaLab, woodshop.

  • Outdoor learning spaces, plus hardscape and natural play spaces.

Moving the functions of the current field house to a new Athletics and Wellness Center on the site of the old baseball field creates the opportunity to build a lower school on the best possible location—and create a vibrant, cohesive Academic Village.

In a new Athletics and Wellness complex, we will fortify the PC athletic legacy, cheer the Quakers, and gather to celebrate all-school traditions.

These new facilities will combine physical education, health and training to promote fitness and healthy choices.

The Athletics and Wellness Center will include:

  • Training room, wrestling room, locker rooms, meeting spaces
  • Two basketball courts for team practice and the Physical Education program. The courts convert to one competition court.
  • Safe, direct access to track and Maguire Field, plus the front fields and Strawbridge Campus.

Construction of the field across School House Lane on the Strawbridge Campus is the linchpin of the campus transformation envisioned by the How Far? campaign.

The new baseball facility will feature a competition field, team dugouts, dedicated bullpens, batting tunnels, spectator seating, restroom facility, field support building, rain gardens and landscaping, campus parking.

A new view of campus from School House Lane, with Athletics and Wellness on the left, the main academic building in the center, and the David L. Kurtz Center for the Performing Arts to the right presents a unified front line representing the ongoing vision and new expression of academics, arts and athletics.

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