Do you have a question about the Tomorrow Starts Today campus growth program?

Please email dawson@dawsonschool.org - and put "TST Question" in the Subject line. We will get back to you promptly, and will add frequently asked questions to this FAQ page. Thank you!

CAMPUS GROWTH Overview FAQs

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What is being built, and when will things be complete?

    What is essential for our students to be prepared for today's changing landscape? These facilities support the development of the combination of hard and soft skills students need to succeed.
     
    DINING COMMONS - Completed
    A vibrant educational program is built on the connections students make with each other and with faculty. Having multiple and varied places on campus for relationships and community to develop and thrive is essential.
     
    LEARNING COMMONS - Completed
    The former dining hall transforms: meet the Learning Commons, where yesterday's library becomes an inspiring, 21st Century environment for study and collaboration. Students learn in different ways and with different tools. Space that is well-equipped, inviting, and flexible makes this learning possible.
     
    THE GREEN - Planned completion: Fall 2020
    Dawson's campus is integral to our program and is used in ways both educational and restorative. Our campus quad, The Green, is designed to allow and promote community gathering, recreation, and experiential learning.
     
    INNOVATION CENTER - Planned completion: Fall 2020
    A best-in-class facility that empowers today's students and faculty - and tomorrow's - with the space and tools to boldly explore an idea. Classrooms will allow traditional eductation to evolve and adapt, and the space will serve as a resource for collaboration with the community, with business, and with each other. The nexus of a state-of-the-art building, our amazing faculty, and Dawson's unique educationsl program. 
  • Q. What are Dawson's guiding principles for its campus growth?

    Dawson has a number of guiding principles for its campus growth.
    • Stay anchored in Dawson's Strategic Plan - our vision for Dawson's best future.
    • Invite full community participation - trustees, families, students, alumni, faculty, staff.
    • Utilize best-in-class guidance and partners throughout design and construction.
    • Make choices based on what is essential for our students' success.
    • Live our commitment to today's best practices in sustainability and the environment.
    • Ensure new facilities complement and are integrated with current campus look and feel.
    • Be fiscally responsible. Design spaces for maximum, multi-purpose, flexible use.
  • Q. How much will these buildings cost?

    The projected budget for this phase of our campus growth - Dining Commons, Learning Commons/Henderson Renovations, The Green, Innovation Center - is $25 million. Dawson is committed to being fiscally responsible and has a rigorous and thorough decision making process. We make choices based on what is essential for our students' success, and we are designing spaces for maximum, multi-purpose, flexible use.
  • Q. What steps is Dawson taking to work toward low impact/sustainable buildings?

    Low impact and sustainable practices are a design principle for Dawson, and form a cornerstone of our design and building plans. For instance,
    • All buildings are being developed to meet LEED Gold standards.
    • Dining Commons furnishings have been selected with low impact and low emissions.
    • The Innovation Center has been designed as close to zero energy as possible; it will be extremely energy efficient.
  • Q. What role does Boulder County play in this project?

    Because Dawson operates through a Special Use Permit, Boulder County must approve all changes to the campus, monitor our energy usage, traffic counts, and more. The County approved the Dining Hall, and the Planning Commission voted unanimously in favor of the Innovation Center which was then approved by the County Commissioners.  Dawson’s partnership with Boulder County over time, and we are grateful for their partnership in this important phase of Dawson's growth.

INNOVATION CENTER FAQs

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

Dining Commons FAQs

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What is the capacity of the new Dining Commons? What is changing about lunch at Dawson?

    The seating capacity of the new Dining Commons is 400. The new servery is designed for shorter/faster lines, and easier access for our youngest students. We still have our terrific partners, SAGE Dining Services, providing lunch! 

The Dining Commons is also a popular venue for meetings and events, and its space has been designed for flexibility, adhering to our multi-use goal.
  • Q. Why did Dawson decide to build the Dining Commons first?

    There were a number of factors that led to the decision to build the Dining Commons first in this phase of our campus growth. In a perfect world, we would have built all elements at once - Dining Commons, Learning Commons/Henderson renovations, The Green, Innovation Center - in order to minimize overall construction time on campus. However, Boulder County approvals for the Innovation Center were more readily received, since the Dining Commons is replacing a building - it is being built on the footprint of the old 7/8 science building.
     
    Doing everything at once would necessitate significant disruption to our academic program, and to logistics on campus. Classrooms would have been displaced; with double the construction vehicles, parking would have been severely impacted; and the dining hall would have been unavailable for some portion of the school year.
     
    Dawson's early fundraising efforts have been progressing well, yet we have a way to go before we will have raised sufficient funds to complete the entire project. We strive to be fiscally responsible in balancing obtaining the needed funds with construction financing requirements. The Dining Commons is fully paid for.

     
  • Q. Will the Dining Commons be used for meetings and speakers? 

    In keeping with our guiding principle of multi-use spaces, the Dining Commons has been designed for use with meetings, presentations, and speakers - valuable community and learning opportunities. And yes, there are two conference rooms - each seating up to 20, and they can be combined to accommodate up to 40. The main space as well as conference rooms are equipped with audio-visual equipment.
  • Q. What else is new about the Dining Commons? Is there really an indoor/outdoor fireplace?

    Yes, the Dining Commons has an indoor/outdoor fireplace. It also has a patio that is used for outdoor eating during lunch, events such as our Farm To Table dinner, or impromptu classroom space. Another interesting feature is the acoustic ceiling; it was designed as attractive wood surface backed by special acoustical panels that help noise levels. 

Learning Commons/Henderson Renovations, The Green, Innovation Center FAQs

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What is a Learning Commons?

    The Learning Commons is a 21st Century environment for study and collaboration. Students learn in different ways and with different tools. Space that is well-equipped, inviting, and flexible makes this learning possible.
  • Q. What grade levels can use the Learning Commons?

    The Learning Commons is designed and will be equipped for primary use by individual students and classes from grades 6-12. As it does now, the Lower School library will continue to serve grades K-5.
  • Q. Will an adult always be present in the Learning Commons?

    Yes, certain faculty have their offices in the Learning Commons, and there is a support desk that has a faculty member present.
  • Q. Why a Green?

    Dawson’s campus is integral to our program, and is used in ways both educational and restorative. Our campus quad, The Green, is designed to allow and promote community gathering, recreation, and experiential learning.

Funding and the Future FAQs

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. Will we ever renovate and expand the Arts and Athletic Centers?

    Yes, the campus Master Plan calls for expanding and renovating both the Arts and Athletic Centers in the future, as well as for other campus improvements. Ideas range from an enlarged main theatre and a black box theater in the Arts Center, to an outdoor pool in proximity to the gym, a larger weight room in the Athletic Center, and a concession stand and restroom out nearer the fields. Once we successfully complete Phase I, Dawson will be working with Boulder County, studying enrollment projections, and discussing and refining these plans for future campus growth.
  • Q. How are we paying for this campus growth?

    Dawson is in the quiet phase of a capital campaign to raise the funds necessary for this project.  The Alexander Dawson Foundation will match all gifts of $25,000 or more if fulfilled by May of 2021.  We plan to raise $10 million from current parents, alumni, grandparents, former parents and other friends. The Foundation match will amount to $10 million, and the school will finance the remaining balance.
  • Q. Are you asking that we give to this campaign as opposed to the annual Dawson Fund?

    The Dawson Fund is Dawson’s main fundraising priority. The Dawson Fund supports the day-to-day events that move Dawson’s program from great to exceptional. The campaign to support our campus growth is an investment in Dawson’s future that we hope every family will consider in addition to their Dawson Fund gift. 
  • Q. What impact will these buildings have on enrollment?

    We have already begun promoting these buildings and enhancements to prospective families. Though they come to Dawson for our exceptional program, the knowledge that Dawson is investing in our campus with an eye towards the future sends a positive message.
  • Q. Will this project affect tuition?

    We are fortunate to have had a strong start to our fundraising for this project, and with the Foundation’s generous match, the majority of the project will be covered by private donations, minimizing the amount we need to finance. We are making every effort to ensure that the amount that needs to come from tuition revenue would be minimal.
  • Q. When did we last build on the Dawson campus, and how was that paid for?

    Dawson’s last new building was completed 20 years ago.  The Alexander Dawson Foundation issued bonds to pay for the Lower School and Athletic Center. The Foundation continues to cover the debt service on these bonds to this day.

TIMELINE AND DETAILS

 
FALL 2019

PARKING
August/September: Pull down old Lower School Arts building; becomes East Parking lot. Expand Middle School Parking lot, and handle needs on portion of Lower School lot. Work on infrastructure of Innovation Center and campus needs.

INNOVATION CENTER
A best-in-class facility that empowers today's students and faculty - and tomorrow's - with the space and tools to boldly explore an idea. Classrooms will allow traditional eductation to evolve and adapt, and the space will serve as a resource for collaboration with the community, with business, and with each other. The nexus of a state-of-the-art building, our amazing faculty, and Dawson's unique educational program. Planned completion: Fall 2020.

THE GREEN
Dawson's campus is integral to our program, and is used in ways both educational and restorative. Our campus quad, The Green, is designed to allow and promote community gathering, recreation, and experiential learning. Planned completion: Fall 2020.


DAWSON'S GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR CAMPUS GROWTH

* Stay anchored in Dawson's Strategic Plan - our vision for Dawson's best future.   
* Invite full community participation - trustees, families, students, alumni, faculty, staff.  
Utilize best-in-class guidance and partners throughout design and construction.  
Make choices based on what is essential for our students' success.  
Live our commitment to today's best practices in sustainability and the environment.  
Ensure new facilities complement and integrate with current campus look and feel.  
Be fiscally responsible. Design spaces for maximum, multi-purpose, flexible use.