October 4, 2008

Lab Schools launch major fund drive

The U of C Lab Schools hosted a kickoff reception last Saturday for the Lab+ Campaign, an effort to raise at least $40 million to fund the school’s Master Plan, shore up its endowment, and supplement its general operating funds. Donors have already pledged $26 million to the effort.

The Lab Schools are a University-affiliated, private, K-12 school located on East 59th Street.

According to David Magill, director of the Lab Schools, most of the money will go to building physical facilities. The facilities may be used for early childhood and arts education, collaborative work between teachers, individual work, and meetings with parents, he said.

“This is a complex and incredibly complicated project, but we can do it,” Magill said.

The project’s success will require significant participation and contribution by the University, which has pledged an additional $40 million to the campaign.

University President Robert Zimmer, a Lab Schools parent, praised the Schools’ history of fostering student growth, strengthening families, and building community.

“I’ve been struck over and over again by the nature of the community,” Zimmer said, adding that the University would do its part to help “enable the richness of that community.”

“The University would not be what it is today if it weren’t for the Lab Schools,” he said.

Campaign leaders emphasized the University’s integral role in expansion and upkeep of the Schools.

“The [University] trustees needed to look at the project and say, ‘This is really important, this really needs to be done,’” said Sarai Hoffman, executive director of development and alumni relations.

Hoffman added that the architects for the project will be selected by University and Lab Schools officials.