Amidst the festivities and celebrations marking Phillips Academy’s 225th Anniversary, the Board of Trustees convened for their annual spring term meeting to approve the operating budget for the fiscal year 2004, authorize the construction of a second ice sheet at the Ted Harrison Hockey Rink, and continue support for the International Academic Partnership (IAP). After a careful review of financial data from each of the Academy’s offices and departments, the Trustees opened their session by setting the operating budget for next year at $69.3 million —a figure roughly comparable to those from years past. The Board also authorized the Office of the Physical Plant (OPP) to begin preparing for the addition of a second ice sheet to the recently opened Ted Harrison Hockey Rink. Accounted for in initial plans for the facility, the second rink will enable all the Academy’s interscholastic hockey teams to complete their practices before study hours, and will increase the amount of revenue the school can generate by renting ice time to local skating clubs. “Constructing a second ice sheet will be mutually beneficial for the school and for the surrounding community,” Head of School Barbara Chase stated in an earlier interview with the Office of Communications. She continued, “A second ice sheet will increase the amount of ice time available to local residents, and the revenues generated by renting surplus ice time to the community will enable the academy to operate the facility in a self-sustaining manner.” At a cost of nearly $5 million, the second rink will include a professional-size ice sheet, in addition to seating for over 100 spectators, and up to four additional locker spaces and changing rooms. Although the construction schedule for the addition depends on the pace of a special fundraising effort, OPP personnel have already begun the final design of the second rink. It is likely that the structure will be built some time in the near future, since special permits from the local government are scheduled to expire soon. Opened in the spring of 2002, the Harrison Hockey Rink currently hosts the Academy’s Varsity hockey teams, while the aging Sumner Smith Rink supports the Junior Varsity squads. Upon the completion of the second phase of the Harrison project, the Smith facility will close, and all practices and games will move to the two new rinks. The Harrison facility has already proven to be a resource for communities around Andover. The Phillips Academy Skating Club currently boasts over 2000 active members in its hockey and learn-to-skate programs. The Academy hopes that the additional revenue generated by opening a second ice sheet will cover the facility’s operating expenses. Additionally, the Trustees voted unanimously to continue the Academy’s support of the IAP for the next two years, albeit at a reduced financial level. After discussions with Phillips Academy’s partners in the IAP venture, Aga Khan Educational Services Worldwide and the Salem School, the program’s leaders have chosen to maintain their focus on the Islamic Cultural Studies curriculum development project. They will also provide seed grants for schools interested in innovative professional and curricular development. Such grants have already financed the creation of a weather station at a school in Uganda and student photojournalism projects in Tanzania and India, according to Director of the IAP Christopher Shaw. Although the popular summer professional development programs led by Academy instructors are expected to continue, Dr. Shaw noted that lack of funds could push the workshops back to a later date. “Although the IAP is being scaled back for the next two years, I am proud of the Trustees’ acknowledgement of the program’s importance after our first decade of operation,” Dr. Shaw remarked, “Their unanimous vote makes clear that the IAP is serving Andover at the very core of our program and has contributed substantively to fulfilling our mission in global education.” The Trustees also heard reports from OPP personnel concerning the state of the Memorial Bell Tower, which has been in a state of disrepair for many years. They concluded that they would not consider a significant restoration project until the Academy’s financial condition improved considerably.
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