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Building Friends Capital Campaign

Building Friends is a $7.75 million capital campaign to expand and enhance the spaces for teaching and learning at Carolina Friends. The fundraising effort, the largest in the School's history, began in November 2011. Thank you for your support!

Find up-to-date photos and stories about Building Friends in our online, expanded edition of the Spring 2013 We & Thee.

Laying the Groundwork

A two-year, grassroots process led to the December 2008 approval by the CFS Board of Trustees of Meeting the Challenge, the School's fourth long-range strategic plan.

A Land and Facilities Committee, clerked by Trustees Marsha Green and Liz Bruno, then spent two years working with our longtime architect, Ellen Weinstein of Weinstein Friedlein, and Tony Whitaker from Civil Consultants, our land planning and civil engineering firm, on a campus master planning process.

 See the changes firsthand on a Building Friends campus tour

With the help of fundraising counsel Mary Moss and Susan Ross of m+r, we then engaged members of the CFS community in a Spring 2011 feasibility study to determine which Meeting the Challenge objectives could be realized in a capital campaign. The Board of Trustees approved the campaign in May and June 2012. 

In Fall 2011, more than 80 members of the CFS community--from Lower School students to alumni--contributed suggestions for the name of the capital campaign. We were pleased ultimately to choose a suggestion from new Middle School teacher Anna Lynch: Building Friends!


We were fortunate to have three dedicated community members helm this effort as campaign chairs.

  • Martha Klopfer is one of the School's co-founders, early administrators, and alumni parents, and a Trustee Emerita
  • Liz Bruno is mother to three current or graduated CFS students, served as a Trustee, and co-clerked the Land and Facilities Committee.
  • Mike Bishop, father of two CFS graduates and a former CFS Trustee, co-chaired the Next Step Campaign, 2005-2008.

They've been assisted by a Campaign Steering Committee of hardworking volunteers.

The Campaign

PHASE 1 | This campaign focuses on enhancements in several areas: the sciences, the performing and visual arts, physical education/athletics, small group and individual learning, and professional work areas:

  1. Chapel Hill Early School expansion and enhancements
  2. Quaker Dome enclosure and renovation for year-round athletic, physical education, and event purposes
  3. Middle School expansion and enhancements, including a new science wing and new classrooms, tutoring, and studio space
  4. a new greenhouse for our science and gardening programs, across units
  5. an enlarged Upper School art studio made possible by relocating the Middle School studio to the expanded Middle School building 
  6. an enhanced Upper School computer lab
  7. an Upper School Physics lab and makerspace for our science and design and engineering programs
  8. Lower School expansion and enhancements, including of library, Spanish, art, music, and science
  9. a meeting space added to the Campus Early School
  10. a new 350-seat theater for dance, drama, and music performances
  11. a new wastewater treatment system, roadwork, and other infrastructure

Thanks to donor generosity, two projects moved from Phase 2: six tennis courts [completed Fall 2014] and a relocated, regulation-size baseball field [completed Spring 2015].

PHASE 2 | Additional construction plans and funding efforts will move forward only after completion of Phase 1. These later projects may include:
  1. dance, drama, and music education wings added to the theatre to form a Performing Arts Center
  2. a service learning facility

All these elements, Phases 1 and 2, will be brought together in a way that makes nature the heart of our campus and continues the tradition and tremendous value of Carolina Friends as "the school in the woods."

Making Progress

Principal Mike Hanas took part in a ribbon cutting with students to celebrate the March 2012 completion of the Chapel Hill Early School expansion.

The enclosure and expansion of the Quaker Dome was completed in February 2013. This all-weather, multi-purpose facility is heated and cooled by a geothermal system made possible by an anonymous gift. Get a sneak peek inside the Quaker Dome and learn more about the impact of this project on students and staff in a short YouTube video [at left].

We undertook various infrastructure projects, added a new greenhouse, and for Fall 2014 completed an enlarged Upper School art studio, an enhanced computer lab, and a Physics lab and makerspace.

The Middle School expansion opened for students and staff in August 2014.

The Lower School renovations and addition opened for Fall 2015, designed by architect Ellen Weinstein (who designed the last addition to the Lower School--the Forest Class space and the library--in the early 1990s!).

In August 2016, we completed a modest addition to the Campus Early School and in Fall 2016 break ground on a new performing arts theatre!

Inviting Support

We launched the quiet phase of Building Friends in November 2011 with the Board, and by the end of January 2012 had 100% participation from Trustees, who stretched to make incredibly generous gifts at every level.

In Spring 2012, a Staff Committee clerked by longtime Lower School teacher Charlie Layman invited the staff to offer their support to the capital campaign. They give so generously of their time and talent, and they're also stepping forward to make financial gifts--surpassing the $100,000 mark--for Building Friends.

We marked the launch of the community phase on March 2nd, 2013 with a day of service (a Stop Hunger Now meal-packing project) and of celebration. Our entire community was invited to be part of this milestone in the life of the School.

We hope you're inspired by our aspirations and we invite you to consider how you might support the vision--it's not too late! To learn more, please contact Anthony L. Clay, Director of Advancement, at aclay@cfsnc.org or 919.383.6602 x268.

You can make a financial contribution at www.cfsnc.org/donate. Thank you!

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Carolina Friends School          
4809 Friends School Road
Durham, NC 27705
919.383.6602 tel / 919.383.6009 fax / info@cfsnc.org

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