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Fort Worth Country Day Breaks Ground on New $25M Lower School

FORT WORTH, TX — Fort Worth Country Day (FWCD), the oldest co-ed college-preparatory school in Fort Worth, has broken ground on a $25 million Annie Richardson Bass Lower School, which will replace FWCD’s existing Lower School originally built in 1964. Set among FWCD’s 104-acre wooded campus in southwest Fort Worth, the new 32,720-square-foot Lower School will provide an inspiring, modern, light-filled, indoor-outdoor learning environment for 350 students in grades 1 through 4. Completion is slated for spring 2025.

FWCD’s new Lower School will be infused with natural light, connections to the outdoors, tuned acoustics, and appropriate technology to expand the school’s delivery of future-focused experiences and activities. Included in its project scope are:

  • A 2,130-square-foot library with floor-to-ceiling windows, a fireplace, reading nooks, adaptive furniture, soft seating, and sliding glass doors that open to an outdoor courtyard built around a giant chinkapin oak tree
  • Two dedicated science labs, a collaboratory/makerspace, and study rooms for tutoring and smaller breakout sessions
  • A window-filled commons area for special programming, class performances, lectures, and more
  • First- and second-grade wing on the building’s north side, complete with its own covered outdoor learning space designed to encourage exploration, collaboration, and adventure beyond the traditional classroom
  • Third- and fourth-grade wing on the building’s south side, with its own covered outdoor learning space that supports active learning and creative thinking
  • A playground with sports court and play structures that were originally funded and purchased by FWCD’s Parent Faculty Association in 2018
  • Sustainable design features including skylights, light shelves, LED lighting, rainwater collection, and drought-tolerant landscaping with native shrubs, grasses, and water-conservation technologies
  • Integrated technology to foster student interaction, including flat-screen displays in all classrooms and learning spaces
  • Communications and security platforms with digital signage, two-way paging, a high-tech intercom system, and proximity-controlled exterior doors
  • Emphasis on safety and security, with one access-controlled entrance
  • A dedicated safety shelter in the commons area, with windows and walls built to withstand 250 mph winds in the event of a major storm or tornado
  • Offices for academic support coordinators, health and wellness counselors, faculty/staff meeting rooms, and multiple communal and collaborative spaces

“Our new Lower School is designed to create exceptional learning environments within classrooms and communal spaces while delivering dramatic improvements for safety and efficiency,” said Eric Lombardi, Head of School at FWCD. “It will have a strong connection to our campus’s amazing outdoors, while also giving our faculty and students first-class spaces to inspire the highest level of elementary-appropriate learning.”

Funding for the construction of the new Lower School was one of four major priorities in FWCD’s Forward Together Comprehensive Campaign, which was created to expand and fortify the school’s financial future, further develop its people and programs, and enhance and improve its teaching spaces. During the campaign’s quiet phase, $31 million was raised from 100 current families and 70 faculty and staff members for endowment, the Lower School construction, and athletic fields enhancement.

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To design and construct the new Lower School, FWCD selected San Antonio-based Lake|Flato Architects as its architectural/design partner, Dallas-based Hocker Design for landscape architecture, and Fort Worth-based Linbeck as general contractor.

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