Frequently Asked Questions

How is Waynflete funding the Lower School construction project?

The Lower School building is being funded through a combination of philanthropy and tax exempt financing. In spring 2015, Waynflete launched a three-year capital campaign to fund several strategic priorities, including a new Lower School. The campaign has been very successful to date and has positioned us to break ground in 2017. The effort will continue through the 2017-2018 school year and the entire community will be invited to support the goals of the campaign, including the new Lower School and several endowment priorities.

Why is Waynflete prioritizing this project?

The Lower School has been located in Founders Hall and Hewes Wing since its previous location (Storer House, current site of Waynhenge) was destroyed by fire in 1987. While Lower School teachers have made these spaces work for many years, they are the first to point out that their teaching spaces limit what they can achieve in their programs. While both the Middle and Upper Schools have undergone renovations that have substantially enhanced their learning environments, the Lower School has never had the benefit of space that was purpose-built to accommodate the program.

An experiential, project-based curriculum simply requires more space. The time has come to invest in classroom spaces that can be easily adapted to individual, small-group, and large-group project time—and to finally create a dedicated Lower School library.

What is Waynflete doing to ensure that the new school will have the same warm feeling as the current Lower School?

We believe that the atmosphere in the Lower School is generated by the relationships between teachers, students, and parents. To ensure that these critical connections are maintained in the new facility, project architects worked in close collaboration with faculty members from all four teams on the building design.

The configuration of the Lower School will result in exciting new teaching opportunities and create even higher levels of energy and enthusiasm in classrooms. With approximately double the floor space of the previous school, the new building will be fully accessible and will include a library, welcoming area, amphitheater, outside second-floor terrace, and new spaces for innovation and Afterschool programming. Classrooms will be larger and have been designed to emphasize modularity and flexibility. Teachers can easily reconfigure furniture and partitions to create intimate spaces or larger-scale areas for collaboration across multiple programs.

Has the project been approved by the City of Portland? When will it start?

The project was approved by Portland's Planning Board and Historic Preservation Board and is supported by the Western Promenade Neighborhood Association. Construction began on May 30, 2017.

When do you expect to move into the new building?

The new school will open for classes in September 2018, at the start of the 2018-2019 academic year.

How will Lower School classes be affected during the 2017-2018 academic year?

With the construction project spanning two summers and one academic year, the four Lower School programs will be temporarily moved to locations on campus for the 2017-2018 school year. Our top priority is to maintain a sense of continuity—and community—for students and their families during this time.

While our Lower School faculty is excited to move with students into their new permanent home in 2018-2019, they also believe that the temporary relocation during the transition year will create unique learning opportunities and strengthen relationships between the school's three divisions. They intend to make this coming school year a memorable and exciting time for all Lower School students.

Click here to view program relocation plans for 2017-2018 (note that plans are conditional on city and state approvals).

Will class sizes be larger in the new school?

There will be no significant changes in class sizes—or overall enrollment—other than to correct shortcomings caused by space limitations in the current facility. (For example, space currently limits our 2-3 program to 10-11 students per class.)

Will students have access to playgrounds during the transition year? Are new playgrounds part of the project? What about the Lower Field?

While the Lower Field will be off-limits, the Lower Playground will be accessible throughout the construction process. Additional temporary playgrounds will be created in the Sanctuary and the Piney Woods. The Upper Playground is in the construction zone and will be dismantled. A new Upper Playground will be built at the conclusion of the project (it will be a temporary playground if commencement of the Gymnasium Construction Project is imminent at that time). The Lower Field will be regraded, compacted, and reseeded as part of the project.

When will construction occur?

Construction activity will typically occur between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Will the new building be more energy-efficient?

The new Lower School has been designed to comply with Passive House standards and will be one of the most energy-efficient buildings of its size in the state. Passive House structures are typically 80% more efficient than code-compliant buildings. Residential homes built to Passive House standards can be heated with the equivalent of a hair dryer!

Will you still have summer programs in 2017 and 2018?

Flyers Camp programs will be accommodated in other buildings on campus during the summers of 2017 and 2018.

I am thinking about sending my child to Waynflete’s Lower School. Should I wait a year?

Our teachers work diligently with students through every kind of transition they experience at Waynflete, and the 2017-2018 transition year will be no exception. Our faculty’s approach to teaching and inspiring children remains the same in any setting. We expect that students will be fascinated by the construction process and will share in the joy of moving into a new facility together the following year.

Are there other projects on the horizon?

Waynflete’s Board of Trustees oversees the school’s physical plant and ensures that the campus can meet the needs of teachers and students. While the precise timeline is still to be determined, the next major capital project is likely to be a new gymnasium.

How can I support this project?

Learn more about making a gift to the "Building on Our Strengths: the Campaign for Waynflete" capital campaign, or contact Sarah Plimpton in the Development and Alumni Relations Office at 207-774-7863, ext. 1228, or at splimpton@waynflete.org.