SPS Today: Dedicated to Community
Dynamic Friedman Community Center is the new campus hub
The School celebrated the success of the Friedman Community Center during Anniversary Weekend, with a dedication ceremony to honor the project’s donors. Board President Archibald Cox, Jr. ’58 and Rector Mike Hirschfeld ’85 gathered alongside many others, including current and former trustees, to honor the 29 leadership donors who made the revitalized facility a reality.
Hirschfeld thanked lead donors Elise and Tully Friedman, parents of two members of the Form of 2017, telling those gathered that the Community Center would not have been possible without their generosity. He expressed thankfulness that generations of SPS community members will gather in the refurbished space because of them.
“Our vision for this space was really quite simple, that it might be a place where community is built and strengthened,” said Hirschfeld. “The Friedman Community Center has far exceeded the School’s expectations. It has become a hub, if not the hub, on the grounds. It is a meeting space, a hangout space, a dining space, a place to study, and a place to hold community forums and School visitors.”
Since the doors to the Friedman Community Center opened in 2017, students, faculty, and staff have spent countless hours taking advantage of the thoughtfully designed space. Following more than 60,000 work hours, the building transformed from its home to the School’s Fine Arts Program and exhibition gallery to a dynamic two-level space that bridges social and academic functions. In addition to the Ronald J. Clark Terrace, the Friedman Community Center includes the Kwok Café, Raffini Commons, Won Family Lounge, Baxter Dean of Students Office, the Tao Family Project room, and the Robert G. Holt, Jr. ’85 Radio Station, home to the student-operated WSPS 90.5 FM.
“We talk a lot about community at SPS, and it is one of the things I love most about the School,” said incoming Student Council President Estela Lacombe Franca ’19. “The Friedman Center is the physical representation of all we talk about. It allows us to maintain and improve the community we all adore.” Tsoylae Ogbemi ’19 shared a story about working out a calculus problem with a friend on one of the whiteboards in the Center’s project rooms. He said the ability to work together in a dedicated gathering space has added a “whole new dimension to our learning here.”
“It’s not just the quality of the teachers and the quality of the education,” added Elise Friedman, “it’s the real caring the teachers feel for the students and the sense of community that is really unique to this particular place. We are very happy to make that more possible.”