With a gift of $1.5 million by an anonymous donor last month, one year into the North Florida School of Special Education’s three-year “Angel of the Woods” capital campaign, the school has reached $5 million of the $6 million goal toward a new campus.
The most recent gift was made to name the new campus The Christy and Lee Smith Lower School Campus and Therapeutic Center.
“This is a beautiful tribute,” said Head of School Sally Hazelip. “The donor wants to name the new campus ‘The Christy and Lee Smith Lower School Campus and Therapeutic Center.’ The gift honors our past and helps plant the seeds for our future; we are so thankful for this donor’s generosity.”
The Smiths were one of the four families who founded the school in 1992. The current campus, The Anderson Smith Campus, is named after their son.
The capital campaign was launched to raise funds to build a 32,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art building and a Therapeutic Equestrian Center on five acres of land that was gifted to the school in 2014 by the Ida Mae Stevens Foundation and Doug Milne, Trustee. Immediately upon the announcement of the campaign, it was given a head start with a $1 million gift from Delores Barr Weaver to name the Therapeutic Equestrian Center.
The school has also received major gifts from other community philanthropists including Linda and David Stein; Jill and Charlie Arnold; Lynn and Lee Bledsoe; the Cascone Family Foundation; Tammy and Jay Demetree; The Dostie family; the Zimmerman Family, John and Anne Baker; the DuBow family; Emily and Hawley Smith, and Dorothy and Lee Thomas.
Groundbreaking is expected to occur in fall 2018 with grand opening in 2019. The new buildings will join the existing 9,000-square-foot classroom building on the existing 3-acre campus at 223 Mill Creek Road, bringing the total school size to 41,000 square feet on 8 acres.