Raise the Red hopes to fund BSM’s future

Katie McClurg & Caitlin Ritchie

With “Raise the Red” adorning walls of the main entrance and the flags in the school parking lot, the Raise the Red campaign hopes to fund future improvements to both the classroom experience and athletic facilities. With $5.3 million already raised, the Raise the Red campaign is off to a strong start.

The Raise the Red Campaign is a $31 million capital campaign to raise money for the school. According to Dr. Bob Tift a campaign this large “is unheard of for a high school,” but it’s necessary to make Benilde-St. Margaret’s the best it can be. As Dr. Tift said, “This really is an exciting campaign.”

The Raise the Red Campaign is a 20-year plan that will greatly improve the community at BSM. After discussing the idea with various faculty members, students, parents, and donors, the committee prioritized and created the four main components of the plan: tuition assistance, the annual fund, redoing the fields, and building a new north wing.

Unlike the last renovations that built the library and theater, the board of directors decided that instead of taking out more loans and gaining more debt for this project it would be best to raise the money before starting the project.

The First Fund
One of the four components of the plan is to raise $9.5 million for the First Fund, formerly called the annual fund. Many students don’t know that their tuition doesn’t cover the full cost of operating the school, so the First Fund is used to balance the budget each year. They are looking to increase the fund and increase the number of donors who will continue to benefit and protect the future of the school.

The New North Wing
The building of the new north wing is important because most of the current classrooms are being used for every period therefore “more classroom space for the junior high and the senior high is needed,” said Dr. Tift. The cost for the new north wing is $11.75 million, so it will be one of the later projects due to how much money is needed for it to begin. But even though more classrooms will be added, grade sizes will stay the same.

Tuition Assistance
Another very important part of the plan is the goal of raising $6 million for tuition assistance in order to allow more students, who are hindered by financial situations, to attend BSM. They are trying to make the decision for parents to send their kids here a little easier by “giving more aid to the middle income families,” said Dr. Tift.

Outdoor Facilities
The renovation of the outdoor facilities is a major project in the Raise the Red Campaign. This renovation will most likely occur before the others due to its comparitively low cost of $3.5 million. This upgrade for the fields, parking spaces, and wetlands will make the school’s outdoor facilities more organized and less problematic.

The outdoor renovations cannot begin, however, until all of the money is raised for this project, and when the funds are ready it will take about “six months to do the entire project,” said Dr. Tift. This time period will take a toll on outdoor sports teams as they will have to play all away games for one season, but once the project is finished, teams will have much better outdoor facilities equipped with better drainage and a more organized field arrangement.

Drainage is a big issue with the fields at the moment. This problem will be solved with a new artificial turf stadium and an underground drainage system. The new drainage system will clean the water that runs off the fields and send it to the newly constructed wetland area, and it will also be used in watering the grass when necessary, said Dr. Tift.

This process, however, will be extremely difficult since the school is built on a swamp and “no more water can go off the site than is already going off the site,” said Dr. Tift, which is why the new drainage system is so important in the field renovation process.

The swamp was filled in with debris in order to stabilize the entire school site which also creates problems for the already complex engineering process of the renovation project.

Although this and the other projects that go along with the Raise the Red Campaign are costly and time-consuming, the project will help to alleviate if not completely diminish many issues associated with the outdoor facilities, said Dr. Tift.