Montgomery Academy Close to Fundraising Goal

Montgomery Academy close to campus fundraising goal – link to Advertiser with architects rendering of Mead Hall.
By Andre Coe

Graduates of The Montgomery Academy will return to their alma mater in the fall of 2009 to celebrate the school’s golden anniversary, but it won’t look anything like it did back when poodle skirts were popular.

For that matter, it won’t look anything like it does today.

Currently in the middle of a $10 million capital campaign, the college preparatory school needs only $4 million to reach its fundraising goal and has already begun construction on many new projects. School officials said the transformation will enhance the school’s educational environment and match its motto: pursuit of excellence.

Archie Douglas, headmaster of the school, said he expects the campus to reach its goal in the spring semester of 2009. Everyone at the school strives for excellence, he said, so it’s time to have a facility that reflects that same excellence.

When construction is complete, the transformed school will have a new theater, a school store, theater shop and new classrooms as well as a new athletic facility that includes an eight-lane 400-meter track and brand new soccer field, he said.

Other improvements include constructing a student union and football concession stand at the academy’s upper school (grades 9-12), modifying a wing at the middle school (grades 5-8) and making upgrades to the playground at the lower school (grades 1-4).

Students have maintained a high level of academic achievement at the school. Last year’s graduating class earned more than $4 million in scholarships and students routinely score well on standardized tests and college entrance examinations. New structures can build upon those standards, Douglas said.

“In a way it might not seem that that matters to an educational environment, but I believe appearance matters to the community and the students,” Douglas said. “If students feel comfortable in a building, they do better.”

LeRoy McEntire struggled as a math student before graduating from The Montgomery Academy, but has done pretty well for himself.

McEntire, board of directors president for the academy, credits his ability to make sure he gets the right change at the grocery store to his former geometry and algebra teacher, Ken Dyess.

“He took such an interest in the individual students and I remember him because he took such an interest in helping me with my math,” McEntire said.

He knows the school’s alumni will be pleasantly surprised when they return for the 50th anniversary.

“I think they’ll be stunned,” he said. “We feel like since the motto of the school is ‘the pursuit of excellence,’ the facility will enhance our ability to pursue excellence in athletics, academics, the arts and activities.”

Maybe students at the school will think back to their favorite drama teacher or their football coach and have McEntire’s same fond memories of the academy.

“It just brings a whole new image,” said Carolyn Bryan, director of advancement for the school and a graduate of the class of 1975. “What we’re building on the outside reflects the excellence that we have on the inside.”


*Hattemer, Hornsby, and Bailey, P.C. is the Mechanical consultant on the Mead and Hill Hall projects at Montgomery Academy.