Saint Stephen's raises $2 million to match grant for new athletic complex

kbergen@bradenton.comNovember 30, 2012 

BRADENTON — Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School Head of School Jan Pullen announced to a group of excited students, faculty and community supporters Friday that the school had successfully raised $2 million needed to receive a matching grant from a school donor.

In May, St. Stephen’s parents and school supporters Elizabeth and J. Stuart Moore offered the school $2 million to put toward a new athletic complex if the school community could raise that same amount by a Nov. 30 deadline.

“We have secured the $2 million match,” Pullen said to a cheering crowd in the school courtyard Friday. “We have met our goals.”

In total, the cost of a new athletic complex, which will include a lighted, 800-seat stadium, is $4.5 million. Currently, the athletic fields at Saint Stephen’s have no lights, and many sport teams are required to share fields for lack of space.

“One of the big things is we’ll have lights,” said Athletic Director Carlos Boothby, who spoke of the difficulty of scheduling multiple sports games before twilight. “Everybody’s been really excited about it.”

The school has raised about $4.3 million for the project, but has plans to make up the remaining difference. An anonymous donor has issued a new challenge. The person will match gifts of more than $1,000 up to $50,000 before the new year.

“We’ll do it,” Pullen said.

Groundbreaking on the project is already scheduled for March, and school officials say the complex will be finished by next school year.

Katy Bergen, Herald education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.

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