Head of school Fred Assaf said he is “very hopeful.”
“We’re about 70 percent of the way to our goal,” he said.
The capital campaign to build the Arthur M. Blank Family Upper School was launched at the start of the school year, and there has been “broad participation from parents and alumnae,” Assaf said, and “faculty and staff have already given 100 percent.”
Though Assaf said it does not affect students’ work, there is a “tremendous need” for an updated upper school.
“At the end of the day, school is about people, not about a building, but we need a better workplace for our people,” he said. “Our facility we currently have is just aged out. … It was built in 1960 and does not ac-commodate a modern high school.”
In early 2010, Pace invited Buckhead-based Collins Cooper Carusi Architects Inc. to partake in an upper school design competition, and principal architect and 1979 Pace graduate Sandy Cooper took on the project.
“The initial idea that we presented at that time has been a constant guiding design concept as the more detailed design process unfolded,” Copper said. “Overall, we have spent two-plus years designing the new upper school and gardens.”
Although the new building will be 75,000 square feet, up from the existing school’s 40,000 square feet, Assaf said there are no plans to increase enrollment.
Cooper said the current, two-floor building does not accommodate students or teachers with disabilities well because it is split-level, and the new building will be four stories and is fully handicap-accessible.
“It provides for a modest increase in the number of classrooms, and will house new chemistry, biology, physics and environmental science labs, offices, numerous breakout spaces for students and teachers to interact, an academic resource center and a student commons and roof terrace that fronts Pace’s iconic gardens,” Cooper said.
Construction will begin in May and doors of the new school are set to open in time for the 2014-15 school year.
Students will live in a temporary “academic village,” which will be constructed during spring break.
Cooper said he is expecting a timely completion with “a fine contractor in Midtown-based New South Construction.”
“So many people have invested so much time in making a wonderful design that really fits the needs of our community,” Assaf said. “I’m most excited to see it come to life.”