Berkeley Preparatory School has announced the receipt of a major leadership gift from the David A. Straz, Jr. Foundation. In recognition, Berkeley will name the soon-to-be-completed Straz Family Field House (“The Straz”). This gift brings the school closer to the goal of successfully completing Phase I of Above & Beyond: The Campaign for Berkeley Preparatory School.
“We are honored and inspired by the Straz family’s commitment to help us achieve our mission of providing the best possible educational environment for our students,” said Berkeley’s Headmaster Joseph Seivold. “David and Catherine Straz truly embrace Berkeley’s vision and are great champions of excellence both here and throughout the Tampa Bay region.”
In May 2009, the Berkeley Board of Trustees voted to launch a three-phased capital campaign based on the long-range Master Plan of the school. The campaign was publicly launched in December 2010, and is the largest and most ambitious fundraising effort in the school’s history. Berkeley’s long-term goal of raising at least $50 million aims to fund two areas of critical importance for the school’s future: to transform the campus learning environment and to bolster the endowment.
Campaign Chair George Gramling said this gift marks an immensely important juncture in the life of the campaign and school. “The Straz family’s leadership is an example of why Berkeley is such a compelling and outstanding educational institution. While the progress of a capital campaign is measured in dollars raised, the true impact lies in the educational outcomes that generous gifts like this create. The Straz family’s commitment to Berkeley will create lasting inspiration in the community, generate a legacy of opportunity for students and others, and confirm Berkeley’s mission, which is to put people in the world who make a positive difference.”
With completion expected in May, the new 53,000 square-foot Straz Family Field House will provide ample space and world-class amenities for both the athlete and spectator that will feature a three-court, 900-seat gymnasium for basketball, volleyball, and other court sports for both competition and physical education. The Straz will be equipped to host national high school volleyball and basketball tournaments, as well as serve as a practice venue for NCAA teams visiting the area for regional and national competitions. It will house an expansive football locker room and locker rooms for boys’ and girls’ physical education and several varsity sports. Other features include offices, meeting spaces, reception areas, a fitness room, athletic training facilities, and video-equipped team rooms.
“My wife Catherine, my daughter Keebler, and I are passionate about supporting education and the arts. Berkeley means a great deal to us and it is a place we want to see flourish,” Straz said. “We are honored to have our name associated with this magnificent new athletic facility that will indeed be a source of community spirit and pride for the entire Berkeley family.”
“I want to thank the Straz family on behalf of the entire Berkeley community, and I want to recognize that their efforts to support the school go far beyond their financial generosity,” said Seivold. “Catherine and David have been great stewards of the school through efforts including volunteering their time to our performing arts program as well as bringing the President of Liberia to campus as a guest lecturer. Through their latest commitment to Berkeley, I applaud them for turning their passion into action to benefit generations of young people who will use the Straz Family Field House every day.”
The new Field House will be completed in time to play host to Berkeley’s upcoming graduation ceremony for the Class of 2012.