Campaign for the Commons

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foundations for our future:

Campaign for the


to create a multipurpose community hub in the historic heart of the upper school campus

A Brief History The beige-colored complex of buildings at the

and a significant supporter of the school. At the same time,

southern edge of SCH Academy’s Upper School

the school enclosed the pool within a grandly columned,

campus has been a prominent landmark and active

clerestoried structure so that it could be used year round.

student gathering space for more than 100 years. This

By 1923, the pool had begun to show its age, and the school

complex—encompassing the Woodward and Kingsley

decided to cover it over to make a space for assemblies and

gymnasiums, McCausland Squash Courts, and Harris

dramatic productions. Forty-eight years later, this space

Commons Cafeteria and Annex—has supported a

was converted again into a student cafeteria, later named

diverse array of school activities over the years, from

the Harris Commons in honor of Henry F. Harris ’47, CHA

athletics to drama to dining.

alumnus and long-time donor.

The story of this part of campus begins in 1895, when

Although this area of campus has undergone much growth

the Houston-Woodward family constructed a spring-fed

and transformation over the years, its essential role as a

swimming pool as a new amenity for their Wissahickon

student hub and athletic facility has not changed. Under the

Inn. In 1900, when Chestnut Hill Academy moved into

planned campaign, this historic role will be further enhanced

the Inn full-time, it kept the pool for its students’ use.

by integration of the Rec with this part of campus and the

In 1905, the Woodward Gym was constructed next to the pool, named in honor of George Woodward,

repurposing of the indoor and outdoor spaces to meet the needs of today’s students.

a prominent scion of the Houston-Woodward family

The school’s swimming pool still exists, hidden beneath the floorboards of the cafeteria.

The original Woodward Gym, pictured in 1907.

Campaign Scope The fall of 2019 saw the completion of Phase II of the Campus Master Plan with the opening of the new McCausland Lower School and Commons and the relocation of four of the school’s five divisions. With the Upper School’s full transition to the Inn, it became clear that more student dining and gathering spaces, as well as athletic/wellness enhancements, were needed to accommodate a growing Upper School student body of over 500. The new student Commons, encompassing the following elements, will create a resource-rich, multipurpose hub for the Upper School community. Renovation of Interior Spaces

• • •

The hallway connecting the Harris Commons and the Woodward and Kingsley Gyms will be enlarged to accommodate expanded student dining and gathering opportunities. The Woodward Gym will become a health and fitness center, replacing the fitness facilities currently beneath the Kingsley Gym and in the Vare Field House. The gym will also house the renovated CHA Hall of Fame—renamed in honor of John J. Plunkett h’92, an outstanding coach and teacher—as well as the future SCH Athletic Hall of Fame. On the lower level of the Kingsley/Woodward Athletic Complex, team rooms for both boys and girls will be created and athletic training facilities enlarged.

Creation of Hillside plaza

The area outside the student Commons will be transformed into a plaza, a traffic-free gathering space that will help unite the buildings and open spaces at the southern end of the Upper School campus. This outdoor plaza will be landscaped with native plants and feature outdoor sculpture and comfortable seating to encourage student conversation and relaxation.

construction of a Pathway to the Rec

The current stairways leading from the gyms down to Springfield Avenue will be transformed into a winding boardwalk that meanders through a grove of native plants, creating the feel of a nature preserve while providing improved access to the Rec from the upper campus.

Students work out in the Kingsley Gym Fitness Center.

Students relax in the area outside the Woodward Gym, future home of the Hillside Plaza.

Naming Opportunities The Commons will be the heart of the Upper School campus where students, faculty, staff, and members of the community can gather to enjoy the outdoor spaces and students can take advantage of the resources of the renovated facilities. There will be areas to study, eat, train, compete, perform, relax with friends, and hold meetings and events. The new Commons will encompass the Kingsley and Woodward gymnasiums, Harris Commons Cafeteria and Annex, McCausland Squash Courts, Hillside Plaza, and a winding, naturally landscaped pathway connecting to the Rec. Estimated at $4 million, this campaign marks the final step in the school’s ambitious 10-year Campus Master Plan that unites two historic schools on one campus under a bold educational vision.

name the Complex

Student Stage



The Green

Trophy Lounge



Hillside Plaza

ATHLETIC Training Room



Fitness Center

Classroom for Film Review and Teambuilding


$100,000 Hillside Pathway to Rec

Sculpture Installation



Girls’ Locker Room and Team Room

Champion Hallway



Boys’ Locker Room and Team Room


For more information regarding a named gift opportunity, please contact Jenny McHugh ’84, P’15, P’19, Director of Development, 215-247-7161 / or Kristin Norton P’20, P’22, Associate Director of Development, 215-261-6881 /