To Members of the Brunswick Community:
I write today to share a recent and significant development in the history of our School and the lives of our boys, one that, if all proceeds as we hope, will have a substantial, positive, and permanent impact on the education of every Brunswick student and the experience of every Brunswick family.
The details are as follows:
- I recently received a call from Paul Tudor Jones (P ’15), long a tremendous supporter of Brunswick School, saying that his firm, Tudor Investment Corporation, was planning to move its Connecticut offices closer to the rail-line so as to accommodate movement of Tudor employees between Connecticut and the firm’s growing presence in Manhattan.
- Given Brunswick’s contiguous location to the Tudor offices on King Street and the firm’s high regard for our academic mission, Mr. Jones made us his first call to gauge potential interest by Brunswick in the acquisition of the Tudor property.
- Tudor’s property encompasses 43 acres and several buildings and is bounded by King Street on the west and, on the north, by Cliffdale Road, directly across the street from Brunswick’s northern fields.
- The acquisition has the potential to nearly double Brunswick’s square footage of classroom space on King Street; add as many as four new playing fields; allow for construction of a state-of-the-art track on our existing campus; and would include several units of faculty housing.
Needless to say, an opportunity such as this requires great consideration and discussion and, as a result, the Trustees have been hard at work over the course of the early weeks of the summer weighing all aspects of this issue.
These meetings and discussions culminated in a Special Meeting of the Board of Trustees on July 6, at which it was unanimously decided to move forward in having Brunswick acquire the property. As a result, Brunswick has reached an agreement in principle with Tudor Investment Corporation to purchase its property on King Street.
This decision reflects several important commitments:
- that the benefits of this giant leap should accrue to the greatest extent possible to our current 980 students and families
- that the School should remain as close as possible to its present size
- that tuition should not be increased to cover any additional operating expenses
- that Brunswick should underscore its dedication to remaining as affordable and welcoming as possible
Consequently, the Board’s goal in this endeavor has been to cherish and protect the truly special school Brunswick is today, and to provide our boys with greater facilities and potential — literally and figuratively speaking, to stretch their minds and grow their bodies in bigger space, allowing for an even more thoughtful, organized, and purposeful academic and athletic experience for every student.
In support of this wonderful and reaffirming commitment, Board members have already pledged generous gifts that will help to underwrite a portion of the acquisition cost. Over the longer term, Brunswick will seek additional philanthropy to cover the balance.
I should stress, however, that any re-purposing of the current Tudor Investment property from “commercial use” into “educational use” will require a full review and (hopefully) ultimate approval by the Planning and Zoning Board of the Town of Greenwich. We will make every effort to work closely with all town oversight groups as we move forward and if/when all approvals are granted, would not expect to utilize the site until Fall of 2018 at the earliest.
No doubt, at this point, you are asking yourself how this event would change the present Brunswick program and come to bear on the enhancement of the experience of every boy.
In the broadest terms, the Tudor acquisition would “give us room” to realize strategic goals to which Brunswick has long been committed, with only a small effect on the size and constitution of our current student body and community of families.
Some specifics include:
- We would plan to move our PK and K students to new classrooms on a dedicated floor of what is currently our Middle School building on our King Street campus and, in doing so, will extend Pre-K to full-day and add an additional class of Pre-K students, in line with our current Kindergarten classes.
- Such a move responds directly to a directive in last year’s 10-year evaluation of Brunswick by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), which recommended that we reconfigure the school in such a way as to group our Pre-K and Kindergarten students on the same campus as their Lower School peers so as to ease the transition between our two youngest divisions.
- We would plan to move our Middle School across the street to the Tudor campus (see further detail below), and in doing so, would create a new STEM Center for Pre, Lower and Middle School students in a wing of the former Middle School building with multiple labs, and enhanced robotics and maker spaces.
- Another wing of what is now our current Middle School building would, in turn, be transformed into a campus-wide Performing Arts facility for Pre Schoolers, Lower Schoolers and Middle Schoolers.
- Finally, several remaining classrooms in the current Middle School building would be re-purposed into study-hall and extra-help rooms for Middle and Upper School students to use either before or after their daily athletic commitments.
- For our Middle School boys, the current office building on the Tudor campus would offer a beautiful and architecturally significant structure that would provide vastly improved academic spaces for our Middle School students with individualized Advisory spaces, multiple art and music rooms, and several more classrooms than are currently available to these students; needless to say, all students would be shuttled across King St. in school vehicles for athletics.
- The Tudor campus as currently configured also has multiple residences in separate structures throughout the grounds; our hope would be to transform these pre-existing buildings into additional faculty-housing units for our teaching faculty and interns.
- Further, additional playing fields that could be created on the Tudor campus will broaden Brunswick’s athletic offerings and create a state-of-the-art facility appealing to an even broader spectrum of students whose athletic interests are not now sufficiently addressed.
- Back to Maher Avenue: At the Upper School, greater classroom space that would be made available in what is currently our Pre School building on Maple Avenue could serve an array of academic interests. We are excited to explore how this additional space might further enhance our Upper School offerings and even, perhaps, strengthen our coordinate program with Greenwich Academy.
- Ultimately, more space in all divisions will allow us to further clarify our Admissions entry-points by accepting additional 5thgraders and Upper School students. It is our expectation that, across all 14 grades, the total student body would grow by approximately 60 students — creating opportunities (where, previously, we’ve consistently had to defer) to welcome more siblings and a greater number of families deserving of financial aid.
In the fullness of time, details of our overall vision will continue to take shape. Of course, we’ll do our best to keep you fully informed.
In closing, I want to note, once again, that this opportunity presented itself as many of life’s great opportunities do — very unexpectedly! However, when faced with this unique circumstance, it became swiftly clear that the acquisition of this property would benefit the School and our boys for generations to come.
I would like to acknowledge Mr. Jones for his outreach and thoughtfulness. I would also like to thank the Board of Trustees for the foresight and generosity that has already been so manifest in this regard. I am hopeful in the support we will encounter from our parents and Alumni as we work over the next several months to make this opportunity a reality.