A historic donation from longtime supporters will help fund a new sports facility at Sanford School in Hockessin.
The school announced today that trustee emeritus Sharon Struthers, her husband Ric, and their children—Ryan, Brice, and Corrie—have given Sanford School $1 million, the largest individual gift in the school’s 90-year history.
Longtime donors of the school, Sharon and Ric Struthers said the decision to contribute to the sports program in such a significant way stemmed from their desire to create a space where students from all levels of the school could enjoy athletics.
“Our first love is always education and within education some of the sports programs,” said Ric Struthers. “Our children were there from Kindergarten through 12th grade. They’ve played on teams with some of their best friends. They got exposure to what competitiveness is and what good coaching is,” he said.
Ric Struthers – a former senior MBNA and Bank of America executive – said a working committee made several recommendations for improvements to the Sports Center. “There are some fundamental things that visitors have probably noticed. So we’re looking to upgrade the facility to bring it more to the scale of some of the better gyms in the area, understanding that it’s going to be within the existing footprint,” he said.
The Struthers’ donation is earmarked for a major renovation of the school’s sports center, which will be renamed the Struthers Family Sports Center.
The gift was tied to a “challenge” for Sanford to raise an additional $1 million to support the project, a milestone reached in January. Several families have contributed to the match, including lead donors Stacey, Krista, and Nolan Bacchieri, Pam and Tom Allingham, and Diane and David Kedash.
Work on the new facility will begin in March following completion of the winter sports season and is scheduled to be completed by November of this year.
Sharon Struthers said their family’s investment is a testament to their value of a balanced education and their desire to pay it forward for Sanford students for years to come. “It wasn’t until our children went off to college that they told us what a strong foundation they had at Sanford. The socialization, learning how to interact with all different types of people, and the sports were a big part of that,” she said.
The Struthers Family Sports Center is another key element in the school’s master plan, which has included many significant campus-wide investments, most notably the $5.6 million Geipel Center for Performing Arts, opened in February 2016. The state-of-the-art Geipel Center includes a 456-seat theatre and also has several performing arts classrooms and studios.
Athletic facility improvements at the school have included the installation of two new Bermuda grass fields, resurfaced tennis courts, and baseball field upgrades.
In a statement, the school said, “the transformation of the 30-year-old Sports Center into a premier athletic venue aligns with Sanford’s goal to enhance the student experience for current and future generations.”
Among other recent athletic accolades, Sanford is the reigning state champion in both high school girls and boys basketball.
The new Struthers Family Sports Center will include:
• Enhanced athletic equipment and contemporary teaching and learning spaces
• State-of-the-art health, training and wellness facilities,
• Air conditioning throughout the facility
• New courts, gyms and trophy cases
• A revamped exterior facade, entryway improvements, and a new lobby
“This project is an investment in Sanford’s current and future success. In addition to providing a facility commensurate with the exceptional talent of our athletes and coaches, the Struthers Family Sports Center will allow our preschool through twelfth-grade school students to learn, play, and grow in 21st-century educational spaces,” said Mark Anderson, head of school.