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Foundation created to support arts school

November 30, 1999|By Erin CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

A plan to fund a new performing arts school is being modeled after a public-private partnership that supported the construction of Mike Callas Stadium at North Hagerstown High School.

The Washington County Board of Education recently established a foundation to support the construction and operational costs associated with the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, according to Director of System Development Dale Bannon.

The school is scheduled to open in 2009 on the South Potomac Street property in Hagerstown that once housed Henry's Theatre and the Elks Lodge.

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"The purpose of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Foundation is to help fund some of the school's capital and operating expenses," Bannon said. "The goal is to create a highly successful public-private partnership that provides both start-up funds and long-range support for the school in the form of an endorsement."

The Board of Education has said that financing for the high school will not exceed $8,324,000, with an interest rate of no more than 6 percent.

The foundation is being incorporated as a separate 501(C)3 organization, which is a nonprofit that will allow the foundation to receive grants and individual donations that are not otherwise available to a public school system, officials said.

Until the foundation is operational, a Barbara Ingram School for the Arts fund has been set up at the Community Foundation of Washington County for those who want to donate money for the project.

Bannon said that about 10 community members will form a steering committee, and he expects a fundraising campaign to kick off in the fall, when the foundation's leaders and goals have been established.

Bannon said the amount of money officials hope to raise has not been determined. He said that, initially, money will be raised to offset the costs of the renovation, but will continue to be raised to support school operations.

"The (Barbara Ingram School for the Arts) is a very special project, not just for our students, but for the City of Hagerstown and the entire Washington County community," said Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan. "For leading area philanthropists and donors, such as (Vincent Groh), the establishment of the school offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in on the ground floor in support of an innovative public-private partnership that provides students with an outstanding academic education, coupled with a focus on the arts."

Groh provided the initial donation of the downtown Hagerstown building that officials said spurred the project's momentum.

Bannon said members of the community who want the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts to be successful are important to the foundation's success.

The foundation will oversee many opportunities to give money to the school. Officials said donations may range from small amounts for furniture, equipment and instruments to larger amounts for naming rights to areas of the school, like the dance studio, music rooms, theater and art gallery.

Officials are looking for volunteers to serve on the foundation board. Bannon said those with fundraising, marketing and legal experience and other skills are encouraged to help. Anyone interested may call Bannon at 301-766-2937.

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