Gilman will spend $4.5 million to build lower school More homerooms planned to reduce size of classes

November 22, 1996|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,SUN STAFF

Gilman School will build a $4.5 million lower school to replace its lower school, which was constructed in 1922 as the second building on the Roland Avenue campus, its headmaster said yesterday.

Although the nearly 40,000-square-foot structure will provide an additional homeroom for each grade, the school will not increase its enrollment, but rather reduce class sizes in the early grades -- from about 25 to about 17 students per homeroom.

The building is expected to open in September 1998 and will be named for Gilman's legendary leader, Henry H. Callard, who was a teacher there during the 1920s and headmaster from 1943 to 1963. He died in 1986 at 83.

"His name is synonymous with Gilman," said Headmaster Archibald R. Montgomery IV, who has Callard's picture above his desk. "He was a man of such humility that in his lifetime, you couldn't honor him.

"The board of trustees thought it would be wonderful now."

Gilman's plan comes amid a building boom on independent and parochial school campuses. Garrison Forest School announced last week that it would double the classroom space in its lower school and increase enrollment there by 50 percent. Boys' Latin broke ground in the spring for a new lower school, tearing down a building.

Facilities are under construction at Park School, Loyola Blakefield, Waldorf School and Bryn Mawr School.

Gilman, a 950-student boys' school, will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year and has undertaken a $15 million capital campaign as part of that observance. Nearly $10 million has been raised, Montgomery said.

The campaign goals originally called for an addition to the lower school, which had additions in 1962 and 1986. The board, however, soon discovered that expanding and renovating that building was expensive and would not remedy the problems that beset old buildings, Montgomery said.

The new two-story structure will have more than 20 classrooms and a large library with computer work areas.

The Class of 1947, the first group to begin and complete high school under Callard's leadership, has raised $800,000 for the building.

"They revered him. They are very excited about raising enough money to name it after him," said Montgomery.

The headmaster said Gilman would try to preserve some parts of the original lower school, but added that it is not historically significant.

Ground will be broken in June, and the 270 lower-school students will use portable classrooms next year. The new building will have three homerooms each for first through fifth grades and two classrooms of prefirst grade, Montgomery said.

"Compared to our competitors, our homerooms are larger than others," he said, although Gilman's homeroom classes break into smaller groups for some lessons, so the school maintains an overall low teacher-student ratio.

Pub Date: 11/22/96

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