FAQ

Whistler Waldorf School

Why is the Campaign necessary, what does it include and who benefits?

Whistler Waldorf School (‘WWS’) is rapidly outgrowing its current facility at Spruce Grove and is unable to remain on the site. The new campus will accommodate our growing school population as well as provide dedicated learning spaces for arts, sciences and athletics. The project is a 40,600 square foot campus with the following amenities: Grade School & High School building with 16 classrooms and studios for grades 1-12, including a science lab; Early Years building for playschool and kindergarten; movement studio; community hall and kitchen; arts and administration building with 3 studios, staff offices & meeting space; Arts and Gymnasium complex with 3 studios; the studios provide dedicated learning space for drama, fine arts, practical arts, music, textile arts, student learning support, and a library.

All students and staff, present and future, as well as families in the Sea to Sky corridor, will benefit from the new campus.

What is the budget and where’s funding coming from?

The overall projected cost is $12 million – the project is phased into prioritized builds of key buildings and areas. WWS is committed to raising funds through charitable donations and financing to pay for the entire build. Community support through donations from WWS parents, alumni, staff, friends, and extended family will help us reach our campaign goal. Contributions from local businesses, grants and foundations will be sourced. Financing through our bank, as well as private foundations is being sourced and factored into various stages of construction.

The current goal is to raise $5.5 million to move our existing classrooms and build additional classroom and office space to accommodate our growing student body and staff at Wedgewoods. A private foundation may fund through financing $1.5 million of the initial construction cost, once WWS has raised a minimum of $1 million. In total, an immediate goal to raise $4 million through capital fundraising plus $1.5 million in financing will allow the school to move to our new site with more classroom space than we currently have for our students.

Why is this expansion not covered through regular tuition?

Tuition fees and government operating grants (WWS receives 50% of the grant amount our district public schools receive per student) fund operating costs which includes staff costs, maintenance of facilities, equipment, capital leases for our own facilities as well as RMOW land and building leases. Given the current funding model for independent schools (government grants cannot be used to support capital projects), WWS is reliant on capital fundraising to build our school, as are most independent schools in the province.

This is a tax-receipted contribution.

What is the project timeline?

Phases 1 and 2A, the building of 6 new classrooms in 2012 / 2013, site rezoning and securing a 30 year lease are complete. Construction of Phase 2B will commence upon reaching $3 million in fundraising. The “Building our Future – today” campaign was presented to the School community in June 2016, and a public launch will follow later in the campaign when the majority of funding is in place. The opening of the new campus is planned for September 2018. The Campaign hopes to wrap up by June 2019.

Why has it taken so long to start building the new campus?

From 2002 to 2012, WWS conducted a steady search for a new site for the school with 22 sites reviewed. In 2014-15, WWS collaborated with the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) to conduct a site search; 52 sites were identified and narrowed down to 3 possibilities. At the same time, land exchange discussions with property developers and the RMOW were conducted. None of these options were found to be viable due to timing, budget constraints and zoning requirements. In 2015, WWS successfully lobbied for rezoning of crown land and initiated a lease application for the Wedgewoods site. The Board voted unanimously to proceed with the crown land at Wedgewoods as the permanent site. The Board then initiated a build plan cost review, which involved a new design. In 2016, a 5-year lease was signed with the provincial government, along with an agreement in principle for a 30-year renewable lease (subject to a site survey), the new site plan and preliminary design was approved, and the capital campaign was launched.

Why was the Wedgewoods site chosen?

The Wedgewoods site is the sole property investigated that met key site selection criteria: affordable – $10,000 annual lease; permanent – 30 year renewable lease; room to grow – 3 acres; zoning – zoned for Waldorf school use; proximity – accessible to Pemberton and Whistler families; in nature – a spectacular natural setting

Who will be asked to give to this Campaign?

Everyone who has a vested interest in the success of Whistler Waldorf School will be asked to contribute. Parents of current and future students, alumni who have reaped the benefits of education at WWS, and past parents whose children graduated from WWS will be invited to become contributing members of our community and society. Past and present WWS Faculty are also included. Past and current donors from our community of extended family, friends and local organizations will be invited to continue and expand their support. New relationships will be initiated with individuals and organizations with an interest and history of supporting education and the arts.

Support from each current family is critical throughout the Capital Fundraising Campaign.

How will the project be communicated to stakeholders?

WWS will provide regular updates on progress of both the construction and the fundraising campaign through monthly e-newsletters, social media updates and this website.

Who is involved in the planning and building and what are their roles?

There are a number of key stakeholders in the management and planning of this project: The Whistler Waldorf School Board of Trustees is responsible for the overall management of the project. The Board is comprised of individuals from the parent body, the community-at-large, and supported by the Directors of Education and Administration. The Board Chair is Peggy Vogler, who is also on the Capital Fundraising Campaign Committee.

The Building Committee is made up of Board members and parents with relevant expertise. This Committee, chaired by Tony Kloepfer, meets regularly to review and discuss construction project details.

The Campaign Leadership Team is responsible for the planning and execution of the Capital Campaign. These individuals include Laurie Grant – Campaign Chair, Peggy Vogler – Board Chair, Teresa Bouchard – Campaign Manager; with support from staff – Vicky Bunbury – Director of Administration, Laura Street – Communications Manager and Jennifer Dodds, Community Development Manager. These campaign leaders will recruit a campaign team representing parents, alumni and faculty. Together, these groups will raise funds in our community.

Our key stakeholders include our school community: parents, students, alumni, faculty and staff.

What is happening with the Annual Giving Campaign?

All funds donated through Annual Giving will support the new campus project.

Why is this project a priority for the Board of Trustees and school community?

Building our new school campus is the single most important project our school has undertaken since the inception of the school. Long term leasing and expansion are not options at our current site. Our Grade School classes are nearing capacity and each year another large class moves into the High School – we must build and move to our new school to accommodate our growing student body.