Commonly Asked Questions about the Campaign for the Arts

1. What, Why and How:

The Campaign for the Arts is truly a celebration of the school’s Mission.  We are all working for one goal as a school community – to make the school a better place for our children.  We ask people to participate in a meaningful way; to be a part of something bigger.
2. Why are we building a Center for the Arts?

The highest priority identified by the school’s current Strategic Plan was to raise money to build a Center for the Arts. The arts are not an extracurricular at Miami Country Day – they are essential to the school’s Mission and the education of the whole child.  Currently the arts program is maintained in the same classrooms and spaces used since 1986.  
A Center for the Arts will provide the proper venue and environment that speaks to our Mission and supports our student’s interests and abilities. Future plans may include a new gym, cafeteria, or science center, but currently, our number one priority is building a Center for the Arts, which will benefit all of our students from PK-3 – 12th grade.  The 35,000 square foot Center for the Arts will include a 650-seat auditorium, a lobby, exhibit spaces, dance studio, ceramics patio, and much more.  
3. My child isn’t in the arts so he/she won’t benefit from this facility.

Every student from PK3 to 12th grade will experience the Center for the Arts whether they are in an art class, performing in or attending an assembly, enjoying the Arts Café, or attending a special guest lecture.
Please check out the articles by Dr. Davies on the school website at that speak to the arts and the connection to athletics, as well as the impact of the arts on children’s social and emotional lives.  These are good resources to share with others.  
4. How are the programs going to change with this new building? Are we going to have new things? 

The Center for the Arts is conceived, in part, to increase performance opportunities for our students. 
Truly what the new Center provides is an educational meeting space where artists can hone their craft and learn new skills, where students and faculty can convene, where members of the community can come to lectures or performances. It provides possibilities for master classes, visiting artists, concert series, and a plethora of opportunities to inspire and challenge our students through the arts. 
5. Why should I support this Campaign?

The new Center for the Arts will benefit all of our students, from PK3 to 12th graders. The arts are not considered an extracurricular at MCDS – they are essential to the school’s mission and the education of the whole child.

Your child may not plan to be an actor, artist, dancer or musician after they graduate from Country Day or as his/her profession, but arts education provides skills that are necessary for our students. Colleges and employers are looking for people who are adept at critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, creativity, initiative and leadership. The arts will give students the tools they need for the 21st century and the Center for the Arts will give them a transformational space to develop these skills. Our students’ values, character, sense of self and habits of mind are, in the end, the best and most important gifts we can give them.

6. Why are we building a parking garage?

When we build the Center for the Arts, we are eliminating parking spaces in the North Lot, so we must replace them. Parking is currently a challenge, so this new garage will be helpful to allow more parent and student parking. The parking garage will have 350 parking spaces. In addition, Miami-Dade County requires a garage to address campus parking and traffic issues, and they would not grant the school a permit for building a Center for the Arts without a campus garage.

7. Who designed the Center for the Arts and who is building it?

Zyscovich Architects designed the parking garage and the Center for the Arts. Zyscovich also designed the Franco Center for Learning Resources. The Arts faculty were consulted in the design phase and their input has been highly valued in this process.  Coastal Construction is building the Center for the Arts.

8. What are the costs associated with the Campaign for the Arts?

Construction, Financing, & Campaign
Center for the Arts Construction Costs $17,700,000
Parking Garage Construction Costs $5,800,000
Total Construction Costs $23,500,000

Endowment Funds $3,000,000
Total Funding $26,500,000

Tax Exempt Financing for Garage ($6,000,000)
Tax Exempt Financing for Center for the Arts ($4,000,000)
Campaign Gifts $16,500,000

9. What is the timeline for this project?

We broke ground on the Center for the Arts and Parking Garage on January 22, 2015. We are constructing these two buildings at the same time for the most effective cost, logistics, and timeline purposes. It is anticipated that the garage and the Center for the Arts will be open during the 2016–17 school year.

10. Annual Giving and the Capital Campaign are going on at the same time? How do I give to both Annual Giving and the Capital Campaign?

This is comparable to when you have to pay your mortgage while you’re putting an addition on your house. The school must continue to meet its operating costs even as it’s making major acquisitions and improvements.

Annual Giving gifts are made generally from household budgets and used by the school during the fiscal year.  Gifts to the Capital Campaign can be paid over a 5 year period and individual payment plans can be set up. By a Board of Trustee resolution, 80% of every gift made in support of the Center for the Arts will be used for construction costs; 10% of every gift will fund building endowment to maintain operations of the facility; and, 10% of every gift will fund program endowment for the Center for the Arts.

There is empirical evidence that shows when you have a process for doing a capital campaign and Annual Giving, Annual Giving will be very successful. For example, if you look at Miami Country Day School’s 2014-15 fiscal year, we raised $3,892,090 for the Campaign for the Arts and $1,074,008 for Annual Giving; 2013-14, we raised $2,977,000 for the Campaign and $1,022,582 for Annual Giving.  For those leadership donors that have made a gift to the Campaign for the Arts, they have also maintained or increased their annual gift.

11. Where do funds go that are donated to Annual Giving?

Gifts from trustees, parents, grandparents, alumni, and friends are used to attract distinguished faculty, provide vastly increased opportunities for our students to engage in hands-on educational opportunities, and maintain the campus and our facilities to continue to provide a world-class learning environment. Annual Giving dollars are at work in every aspect of providing our students with unparalleled opportunities during their education at Miami Country Day School.

12. My son/daughter is graduating this year/next year. Why should I contribute if they’re not going to use it while they are a student?

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

As you walk around our campus, there are many names associated with the current facilities, such as the Katherine E. Franco Center for Learning Resources, The Garner Center and The Whitman Library. Many of our leadership gifts have come from the generosity of those before us to create the school we have today. Katherine and Mike Franco did not have children at Country Day; Stanley and Dorothy Whitman did not have children at Country Day; and The Garner and Moore Families continue to lead and financially support the school even though they have not had a student walk through the doors since 1999. We hope you will join these families to help us continue to grow and advance our school.