As you are aware from the email that was distributed to Harding Academy’s families and friends Sept. 12 regarding the goals of our long-term Strategic Plan, the board of trustees and I have been working on a comprehensive Campus Master Plan for the school to ensure we continue to thrive and adapt to changes as we approach our 50th year.
On Monday, Sept. 17, we took an important step toward accomplishing our goals and purchased property at 153 Windsor Drive, the home of Mr. Fred Burch. A friend of the school for 50 years, Mr. Burch will stay in the house as long as he wishes, and we are glad to be able to continue to call him our neighbor.
In terms of Harding’s size, look, feel and relationship with the community, nothing has changed. We plan to remain who and what we are today – a PreK–8 school committed to being a good neighbor, and keeping Kever Park a shared resource for everyone to enjoy. That said, we believe there are ways to do more with our existing campus – ways to use our land better to the benefit of our learning community.
The land Harding gains with the acquisition of 153 Windsor Drive simply helps us pursue an exciting and overdue project: expanding and improving our school theater in and around the part of campus where it currently stands.
After consulting with our architects regarding our strategic priorities, it was apparent we had reached our limit in terms of Floor Area Ratio, a Metro Codes formula that regulates how much building volume an institution can have based on its total square footage of contiguous land. In evaluating a potential theater project, we realized we needed more land – not much, but more. Acquiring this property gives us what we need to take important next steps to explore the options related to the potential expansion to our theater. We have no current or future plans for the property that will change what it is today – the house where Mr. Burch lives.
Mr. Burch and his family have been wonderful partners throughout this process, and we will be forever grateful for their generosity and kindness. As a longtime songwriter with deep roots in our city’s music scene, Mr. Burch was thrilled to learn that his generosity will assist Harding in its future plans and provide an updated and modern space where our students can learn and grow their love for the arts.
At Harding Academy, we are committed to many things – from striving for greatness in our classrooms to constantly challenging our students to think critically and independently – but chief among them is being a trustworthy neighbor and friend of the community. We look forward to continuing to be both for many years to come.
Finally, we would not be the school we are today without invested and supportive families like yours. I hope that you will stay engaged as we continue to work through our Strategic Plan.
For those of you who also live in The Belle Meade Links neighborhood, as I do, you should have received a letter in your mailbox this afternoon detailing the above.
As always, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 615-387-6324 if you would like more information or have questions.