Amid $230 million in projects for building reconstructions and renovations, Upper Arlington Schools is asking for support to enhance students' in-school and co-curricular experiences.
Even before voters in November 2017 approved a 5.17-mill bond issue to fund the reconstruction of Upper Arlington High School, Barrington, Windermere and Wickliffe elementary schools -- along with major remodels at Greensview and Tremont elementary schools -- officials and supporters planned to raise private money to supplement the largest capital project in district history.
In May 2017, a 10-person financial advisory board made up of community volunteers, selected by district treasurer Andrew Geistfeld in January of that year, provided recommendations to the board related to funding, phasing and the scope of a facilities master plan.
That work was, in part, intended to help board members determine how big a bond package should be brought before voters.
As the advisory board began to consider the funding of the master plan, district leadership introduced the idea of using private fundraising to offset some of the expenses to taxpayers.
Board members agreed this was an option to reduce overall costs and felt it illustrated an effort by the schools to explore an outside funding option that would be unusual for public-school projects.
Through the Upper Arlington Legacy Capital Campaign, the district sought to raise $7.5 million.
The $5 million sought for the first stage of the initiative has been met. That money will be rolled into the $230 million the district is spending on "bricks and mortar" projects.
Over the July 4 holiday, the district went public with the stretch run of the campaign.
"The Honor Project" seeks to raise $2.5 million for "programming and equipment that will distinguish Upper Arlington Schools and continue to be a district to emulate," according to the district's website.
It further states legacy donors would "provide 'above and beyond' resources to academic and co-curricular needs; Ensure that Upper Arlington Schools remains a 'lighthouse' district, setting the standard for education across the nation; and 'Pay it forward,' and ensure future generations of students continue to benefit from the highest quality education."
Aimee White, a volunteer who's chairing the Legacy Capital Campaign, said the Honor Project donations could support everything from performing arts, specialized or STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) equipment to interior and exterior learning spaces, furnishings and lighting systems.
"That is for resources and programming that works within the new walls and on the grounds," White said. "Things that impact children on a daily basis.
"We're trying to provide above and beyond. Really, these are the items that continue to make Upper Arlington Schools unique."
Donors will be recognized on the district's website, social media pages and in a district memoir book, as well as a paid advertisement in ThisWeek Upper Arlington News.
Those who donate at least $5,000 will be listed on a donor wall in the new Upper Arlington High School.
Larger donors also will have the opportunity to garner naming rights on an array of facilities at the high school, from the visiting locker room at Marv Moorehead Stadium to classrooms, performing-arts areas and athletics fields.
Naming rights to "Golden Bear Boulevard" at UAHS can be secured for $750,000, and a $1 million donation could gain naming rights to areas like the Tremont Athletic Park, the auditorium, varsity gymnasium or natatorium, among others, at the high school.
A contribution of $2.5 million would give the donor naming rights to the UAHS sports complex.
"All higher-level donors, those $25,000 and above, will have a profile page," White said. "Naming rights begin at $25,000.
"For the first time ever, the district is allowing for people to actually leave a mark. That's how we came up with the name 'Legacy.' "
Each donation can be paid off over a five-year period.
The district recently sent mailers to each Upper Arlington household with information about the Legacy Capital Campaign. Additional information is available on the district website at uaschools.org/legacycampaign.
"This is a unique opportunity for individuals, families and businesses to leave a meaningful legacy for generations of students to come," Superintendent Paul Imhoff said.