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Miquon Announces Heart of Miquon Capital Campaign

The following letter was sent to the Miquon Community on February 25, 2022 from Principal Susannah Wolf ’81:

At the beginning of our 90th year in operation, it is my pleasure to announce a major new project at Miquon that will help sustain our small school and keep it vital in the future: a redesign of the heart of our campus. Integrated into the central area of campus will be a new building that will house our library and two classrooms, and that will provide a larger gathering space for students and teachers to meet and collaborate. The indoor structure will create connections to an outdoor amphitheater for assemblies, plays, and concerts. This project will re-envision the center of Miquon’s campus and how we can use our spaces and grounds to learn together in joyful and creative ways.

We have been working to raise money for this project for several years; to date the Heart of Miquon capital campaign has raised $1.9 million toward a $3 million goal. This month our Design Committee, which includes current parents, alumni parents, alumni, and staff, took a major step forward toward making this project a reality by hiring two firms to co-lead the work: Ground Reconsidered Landscape Architects and SMP Architects.

Ground Reconsidered, Inc. is a woman-owned landscape architecture practice dedicated to improving live/work/learn/play places through the design of creative interventions that enhance the built projects within them and ensures continuity with the existing environment. SMP Architects is an award-winning, environmentally focused, architecture firm located in Center City Philadelphia. They translate client goals into appropriately sustainable solutions for each building and site, combining respect for the environment with design excellence, cost effectiveness, and attention to detail.

All Miquon students and many parents, grandparents, and friends will remember time spent in the Clisby Library building, either as a library or a classroom. You may have read books in the loft, snacked with the goats on the roof, or danced on the stage. You may have made music or created art or spent afterschool hours in the smaller neighboring building. Both these buildings were constructed in the early-to-mid 1930s, and we have used them well. Now they are badly in need of replacement: the roofs leak, the recycled factory windows are thin and lose heat, and the underlying systems (electrical, ventilation) are outdated.

After transitioning to remote learning at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Miquon staff spent the summer re-envisioning how our program could operate in person while keeping children and grown-ups healthy. I am proud to report that 18 months later we have continued to do so—with zero COVID spread on campus. Even with masks and physical distancing, Miquon has continued to be a place where kids can just be kids during this difficult time, and one where kids engage in and love learning.

Through coming back to campus with COVID restrictions, we discovered even more about the ways we use outdoor and indoor spaces and were reminded yet again to appreciate the amazing resource of our campus. Everything we learned reinforced our understanding that our greatest asset is our amazing teachers who find ways to take what they have and joyfully lean into learning with the children in their groups. While the next 90 years of Miquon teachers will continue to find a way to make great learning happen wherever they are, we also know that they deserve dry, solid, safe, beautiful spaces, indoors and out.

We are excited to bring what we have learned to the next phase of this project, which is working with our architects to help them understand what will make this building and outdoor space a learning space that is uniquely Miquon. There will be several opportunities for you to get involved with this process as well, including an Open House with our architects at Spring Fair on May 15. Save the date—more information to come.

Our projected timeline for completing this construction project is fall 2023, and as a small school, we know there will be problems to solve and hurdles along the way. After 90 years of success in Progressive education, we know we can tackle this new challenge as well, with your help. To learn more about this project and the Heart of Miquon capital campaign, visit our website, or contact [2024 update] Associate Director of Development Whitney Snead at whitneys@miquon.org.

I wish you all a happy and healthy winter, and hope to see you this spring!

Susannah Wolf ’81