Late in May at Colorado Academy’s annual Giant Relay Day event, dignitaries gathered to turn a ceremonial shovelful of dirt to mark the beginning of the renovation of the historic Welborn House. The renovation was set to begin in earnest the day after the graduation of the Class of 2016.
The vision for the renovation was born of a meeting just two years earlier at the 50th reunion of the Class of 1964. Former Headmaster Chuck Froelicher, and Class of ’64 members John Sullivan and Jeff Welborn, met with current Head of School Dr. Mike Davis and Development Director Bob Schmitz to discuss a plan. “We found that Welborn House was in far greater disrepair than we imagined,” says Davis.
Once the original ranch home of Jesse and Ada Welborn, the more than 100-year-old house had also been home of Headmaster Chuck Froelicher when he was hired to change the school in the 1950s from a Military School for Boys to a College Prep School. Over the years, it also served as a dining hall, classroom, event and meeting center, and the location of CA’s Admission and Business offices.
The south end of the building, which was the original residence, will be renovated into the Admissions Suite with offices and conference rooms and a main hall connecting them all. The Great Room will be restored to its original splendor when Chuck Froelicher used it as his living room.
The dining room and kitchen will be upgraded, and new bathroom facilities will be added. The north wing will be expanded for the Business Office, Horizons and Summer Camp offices. Further plans include removing the driveway to the side of the building and opening up the view of Welborn from the “Y,” making it a welcoming beacon to visitors to campus.
Through a generous donation of $1.5 million, Brooke Bansbach Maloy ’90 and her parents, Dutch and Pam Bansbach, challenged the alumni from the Classes of 1960-1990 to raise $500,000 and receive a 3-1 match for every dollar raised. More than $610,000 was raised and the challenge was met. CA’s alumni Classes of the ’60s donated 90% of that total.
The theme for the Alumni Challenge likened Welborn House to CA’s “Forever Place” for alumni to come home to. The inspiration came from a speech written by two CA rising Seniors, Olivia Allen and Claire Greydanus, upon their continuation from Eighth Grade. When they take part in graduation next spring with their Class of 2017, they will be the first class to walk forth from the renovated Welborn House.
Simultaneous construction will include the renovation and new construction on the Stevens Art Building, the oldest educational building on campus that once served as a boys’ dormitory in CA’s historical military school days. A lead donor and supporter of the arts generously created an opportunity to launch this project this summer.
After interviewing several architectural firms, the Board of Trustees hired Shears Atkins and Rockmore (SAR) and asked for CA parent Andy Rockmore to lead the studies and draw the plans for these projects.
Note: Due to the construction, the Admission Office and the Business Office will be in temporary quarters until winter 2016 when the construction is expected to be complete. The Admission Office will be located in the Campus Center, and the Business Office will be located on the upper floor of the Raether Library building. All email and phone extensions will remain the same.