As the building plans for the Making Connections campaign progressed and choices were made on what parts of the original Senior School should stay or go, an epiphany occurred. The decision was made to keep the beloved Senior School Foyer, which was originally slated to come down, and turn it into a much-needed student and faculty fitness centre.
For Brent Johnston, Executive Director of Advancement, this was one of the easier spaces to find a naming donor for. “As the School continues to incorporate wellness into different aspects of the curriculum and student life, it didn’t take long for a CDS family to step forward and make a generous donation in support of this project. The silver lining was that we were able to preserve a special part of the Senior School that alumni remember with great fondness.”
The bright space is a natural fit for The von Schilling Family Fitness Area. With rustic high-beamed ceilings and expansive windows allowing for plenty of sunlight and views of the new Petrachek Family West Courtyard and Senior School building, it is not only spacious compared to what we had before, but cozy.
“We wanted to give back to the community that has enriched the lives of our kids,” explained Joanne Gauthier and her husband, Peter von Schilling. “Our donation to the Fitness Centre and Physical Education Department is a thank you to The Country Day School and staff that have enhanced the value of their educational experience.”
Head of Physical and Health Education, Denise Steadman, along with the Phys-Ed department, worked tirelessly last spring and over the summer to ensure that it was outfitted with top of the line equipment purchased at a competitive price. The department was given a budget to adhere to and was able to locate everything they hoped for, including Elliptical and Rowing machines, Assault Air Bikes, free weights, a full rig system, and a Hoist Mi6 functional trainer, in time for the start of Fitness classes in September.
Students were the first to be trained on the equipment, something CDS Physical Education and Health faculty are taking extremely seriously. Faculty and staff were also trained on the equipment prior to the Thanksgiving long weekend.
Everyone is expected to follow the ground rules, including having students always exercise in pairs and be supervised by a faculty member. Faculty and Staff must also always workout in pairs, and everyone must complete a consent form and sign in prior to every workout.
At the recent Board AGM evening earlier this month, CDS Board members toured the facility alongside prospective families visiting during the Open House. Everyone had similar reactions: What a creative use of a beautiful space; CDS students and faculty are extremely fortunate to have this; what an inspiring space to work out in.
We couldn’t agree more, and are thankful to the von Schilling family for making this possible.