As the 2017-18 school year started, Graland wrapped up its three-year construction and facilities renovation project. During this lengthy process, we learned that well-planned spaces can significantly enhance the learning environment for our students and improve the work environment for our faculty.
The final phase involved remodeling areas that were vacated after the Corkins Center opened. Notably, the old library space in the lower level of the Hamilton Reiman building was converted into an art room and a music tech lab complete with a recording studio. A floor higher, students now enjoy a new band room with proper acoustics. The former Lower School science space in the Hamilton West building was transformed into learning and play space for our youngest learners. Over in the Georgia Nelson Building, we opened a suite of contiguous offices for our Lower School learning specialists. We also reopened the Lower School playground and brought back swings as well as new play features.
In addition to these capital improvements, we invested in our faculty through expanded professional development opportunities and funded innovative approaches to education. Our Grade 7 team partnered with Ocean First Education to implement a program that teaches students to scuba dive and enables them to learn about oceanography and the threats to our oceans. The TIDES program concluded with a diving trip to Grand Cayman for first-hand study of marine life.
Professional development opportunities ranged from two faculty members working on higher-level education degrees through the support of the Borgen Faculty Fellow endowment, a diversity and inclusivity cohort led by Dr. Regina Lewis, and various conferences and learning labs. Summer grants allowed faculty to use their break to create innovative lessons and curricula. We saw the fruit of their work throughout the school year and across campus as classrooms, clubs and service programs were positively impacted.
Investing in proper learning spaces, exceptional faculty and innovative programs could not be done without sound management of our financial resources. Leading this effort is the finance committee of the Board of Trustees, a group of experienced finance professionals and seasoned business leaders who help oversee the school’s budget and guide the financial sustainability of the school. The financial information provided in this report reflects the thoughtful investment that the school continues to make in our people, programs and spaces that keep Graland at the forefront of education.