Penn Charter celebrated the construction of the new baseball complex with a ceremonial groundbreaking attended by a dozen distinguished alumni: an owner of the Philadelphia Phillies, a 2018 graduate who is now a professional baseball player, a former MLB player and general manager, and alumni whose gifts to the How Far? capital campaign are shaping the school’s future.
“This is a great moment in the life of our school,” Head of School Darryl J. Ford said. “This baseball facility is the start of the transformation of our campus.” The new facility is the linchpin of a master plan that calls for construction of a new Athletics and Wellness Center and a new lower school.
Ford thanked campaign donors for their support and Penn Charter Overseers for their shared vision. “In that spirit of ‘if we build it, they will come’ from Field of Dreams, they’ve stepped forward to make this happen,” Ford said.
The small crowd gathered in the morning sun and wielded chrome shovels and big smiles, celebrating the milestone.
David Montgomery OPC ’64, chairman and minority-owner of the Phillies, Ruben Amaro Jr. OPC ’80, former player, general manager, coach and newly named executive with the New York Mets, and Mike Siani OPC ’18, recently signed by the Cincinnati Reds, represented MLB. And, with others in the crowd, represented the legacy of Penn Charter baseball. They were joined by overseers, current and former baseball coaches, and members of the PC administrative team.
The baseball facility on Strawbridge Campus, on the west side of School House Lane from Penn Charter’s academic buildings, is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2019 baseball season.
The facility will feature a turf field with an outfield design which, in shape and size, pays homage to Citizens Bank Park’s distinctive outfield. Plus, the state-of-the-art complex will feature team dugouts, bullpens, batting tunnels, spectator seating, a field support building, rain gardens and landscaping, and campus parking.
The complex is the first step, and the enabling step, in a campus transformation that includes a new lower school on the site of the current field house and a new Athletics and Wellness Center on the site of the old baseball field. Those building projects will make it possible for Penn Charter to remain and thrive in East Falls for the next 50 years and beyond.
Among the honored guests was Duncan McFarland OPC ’61, who has made a $10 million gift to the $75 million How Far? campaign, making him the campaign’s largest donor. The campaign supports educational innovation, financial aid, faculty professional development and salary increases, as well as the building projects.
“The fact that the capital campaign has come forward with such momentum and success inspires us,” McFarland said recently. “We want to motivate other people who share the vision for Penn Charter’s future.”
So far, the school has raised $68 million in gifts and pledges.