Waldorf on the map

San Francisco Waldorf School has grown from a single kindergarten classroom into a thriving three-campus school, a pioneer among U.S. Waldorf schools. We are now at an exciting juncture: nearing completion of the Bushnell Center for Athletics and Community and close to closing the largest capital campaign in school history. This showcase facility will serve as a gymnasium, performance venue, classroom, and meeting space for our entire community.

A Home Court Advantage

The Center is the long-term solution to our indoor athletic space demands. We will no longer be solely dependent on rental and lease of outside gyms for high school indoor sports and will use the facility for high school athletics, grade school home games, and alumni and community open gym.

More than a Gym

The Center will be a hub for the SFWS community, bringing us together for athletics, performances, lectures, and community gatherings such as Town Hall, Back-To-School night, and graduation.

A Showcase Facility

SFWS competes for prospective students with neighboring independent high schools, most of which have a gym on or near their campuses. As we celebrate twenty years as a high school, we have the opportunity to build our own showcase facility.

Increased Public Awareness 

The Center will bring more families to our campus for high school events, middle school (CYO) home games, and community events such as the citywide Parent Coalition educational forums. The living wall on the public face of the building will be an expression of our ethic of sustainability to the West Portal neighborhood and the city beyond.

Continued Academic Growth

Our high school program is thriving and our classrooms are near capacity. The new facility will include an academic classroom and kitchen, giving us the space to expand our academic program as enrollment grows.

A Prudent Investment

The school will no longer need to spend resources on rental and lease of outside facilities, a significant saving for the school. Instead, the new facility has the potential to generate income for the school from rental to outside entities. The overall financing strategy is to fully pay for construction through donations and savings from bond refinance before the next financing adjustment in 2023, foregoing any need to incur long term debt.

A Leader in Sustainability

Our school was the first in the Bay Area to be awarded LEED-Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. This project builds on our commitment to sustainability and a green campus; features include a living wall, fog and rain capture into a large cistern, and creation of a zero net energy campus through solar, natural light, and high efficiency systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will the Center be utilized for non-sport activities?

If you have been around Waldorf for any length of time (or even just attended your first Back-to-School night), you most likely understand that this community is adept at using our limited spaces in dynamic ways. It is with that spirit that the Center is being built intentionally as a hub for the entire SFWS community, bringing us together for performances, lectures, graduation, student showcases, school celebrations, and even Spring Night!

To facilitate non-athletic events, the Center will be equipped with robust lighting and sound equipment, theatrical stage (mobile), pipe and drape dividers, and folding chairs that allow the space to transform into many different configurations. Additionally, acoustic paneling inside the Center will help reduce the "echo" that is prevalent in many gymnasiums that are not set up for multi-use purposes. Finally, a commercial kitchen located in the adjacent classroom will facilitate food/drink service for all types of events.

How will the Center be utilized for sport?

The Center will serve as the home gym for all the school’s volleyball and basketball teams, grades 6 through 12. Outdoor teams (baseball and soccer) will also utilize the space for different activities (e.g. indoor batting cage, drill work during inclement weather). We will also host “open gyms” for students, parents, and alumni, allowing us to come together for activities on a regular basis. Finally, the high school physical education program will use the Center for classes (when not outdoors), with the ability to add to the curriculum by teaching futsal, badminton, and other indoor sports.

How should I think about giving to the Home Court Campaign versus annual Community Fund?

Ongoing fundraising like Community Fund helps independent schools like SFWS cover annual operating expenses, including teacher salaries, classroom materials, field trips, etc... Schools intentionally set tuition lower than the cost of educating each student for the dual purpose of maintaining financial accessibility and allowing for tax-deductible gifts. For the school, this annual gap in funding is about $3,000 per child. Capital campaigns, like the Home Court Campaign, are launched periodically to help an organization improve its physical assets and strengthen its infrastructure.

One way to think about the difference: the Community Fund is like a family’s daily budget (e.g. food, clothing), while the Capital Campaign is a one-time expense (e.g. kitchen remodel, roof replacement). Our hope is that each family can maintain their current level of Community Fund giving, while considering a personally meaningful gift to the Home Court Campaign over the next 1-3 years.

Why build the Center for Athletics and Community instead of building at the Grade School?

Building the Center and rebuilding the grade school are both part of the school's Strategic Plan. After careful consideration, the Board of Trustees determined the Center was the best first step for the school’s continued growth and financial stability. (See "What is the financial case for the Center?" below for more information)

One key consideration is the cost and location of the rented gymnasium at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Over the past several years, rental costs have risen sharply. At the same time, student-athletes spend valuable time commuting to practices and games. Another consideration is our school’s fundraising capacity. The grade school project may cost in excess of $30 million, a larger philanthropic effort than was determined possible at this time.

Once the Center is complete, rebuilding the Grade School is planned within the next 5-7 years.

Will the Center be available to use for grade school students and parents?

Yes, this is a building that is meant to benefit our entire community. In addition to serving as the home gym for grade school basketball and volleyball CYO teams, the Center will be available to the Early Childhood and Grade School programs for student performances and other school-wide events. While we do not know all the future uses of the space, we do know that many grade school faculty are excited about the possibilities!

What is the financial case for the Center?

Currently, SFWS leases several gyms to support the athletics program and rents facilities for graduations, concerts, lectures, and other events. These costs add up. By building our own facility, annual expenses will be reduced by at least $150,000.

Additionally, the high school building is nearing its physical capacity with 160 students. With the added classroom and large space, we estimate that enrollment can increase to 180, adding $500,000 in tuition income. Finally, the school has close relationships with many value-aligned organizations that have expressed an interest in renting the new facility, which could add up to $50,000 to the bottom line. Together, savings and income benefit the school by as much as $700,000/year or 7 percent of the annual budget.

What is the actual cost of the Center for Athletics and Community?

The cost of the facility is targeted at $8 million. This number includes a contingency of 20 percent to allow for inflation and other unknowns as the project unfolds. The school is working with our contractor, Oliver and Company, and an owner's representative to negotiate construction contracts.

How much has the Home Court Campaign raised so far?

See sidebar for the latest update!

How is the project funded?

The Board of Trustees has allocated $2.5 million to the Home Court Campaign, a portion of the funds saved after the refinance of the school's bond in October 2016. The school received a $1 million leadership gift early in the exploratory phase of the project, which was instrumental in helping this project get off the ground. A group of 80 families (parents, alumni parents, alumni, faculty/staff, and friends) gifted more than $1.2 million toward the endeavor as the project and campaign took shape. Finally, we have secured strong support from foundations and corporate entities. Moving forward, we will continue to speak with current parents, alumni, alumni parents, friends, and foundations/companies to finish the campaign with success for SFWS.

How are donors recognized? Are there naming opportunities?

Everyone who gives to the Home Court Campaign will be listed on a Wall of Honor. For a gift of $5,000 or more, a recognition plaque will be placed on the indoor bleacher seating in honor of your family or loved one. Donors of $1,000 or more will receive special Home Court Campaign spirit wear to celebrate at the official opening of the Center.

There are also opportunities for donors to name part of the building to honor or memorialize someone close to them. Please email homecourt@sfwaldorf.org to discuss possibilities.

Will the Center for Athletics and Community increase costs for the school?

No, in fact the Center will save the school money by reducing outside venue rentals. The Center will also be rented to value-aligned organizations when it is not being utilized by the school. Finally, with the additional classroom space, enrollment can increase by at least 20 students. (See "What is the financial case for the Center?" above for more information.)

What is the project timeline?

Work to secure our primary contract was finished in January 2019. Construction began in February 2019, and major construction is underway. The estimated completion date is spring 2020, with a full opening in the 2020-2021 school year.

How much additional space is created?

There is a total of 10,020 square feet of new space. This includes the main building and storage with 9,170 square feet and a classroom/kitchen of 850 square feet.

What is a multi-year pledge?

A multi-year pledge is an official agreement between a donor and the school that specifies a gift amount and delivery horizon. This gives donors flexibility with contribution amounts and timing. These agreements also serve as proof that gifts are incoming, which the school uses with banks and foundations to provide additional funds (i.e. loans or grants). To set up a multi-year pledge, the school and donor enter into an official agreement that outlines the total pledge amount and timing for installments.

What are company matching programs?

Many companies have a matching gift program that can double or triple the value of your gift. Please check with your company's Human Resource Department. The matching gift must be initiated by you once you have contributed to San Francisco Waldorf School. When we receive the paperwork from the company, we can verify that your gift was made and complete the necessary documentation.

Are contributions tax deductible?

Yes, gifts to the campaign are treated as all gifts to the school and are one hundred percent tax-deductible.

Is participation required?

We need all families to consider giving in a meaningful way in order for the campaign to be successful. We understand that each family has different financial capacity and commitments, so we honor your decision to join this effort. As one committee member remarked, “this campaign is an opportunity not an obligation!”

If you have a question that was not answered above, please email us.

Goal: $8 million
$7,774,272 from 450 gifts
97% Funded
Updated 10/15/2019

Near the finish line