10 million dollars: Mid-Pacific enters new phases of development

Among longer term plans is the construction of a dedicated performing arts center in the space in front of Atherton Hall.

By Evan Baron

Staff Writer

An unprecedented ten million dollar donation from an anonymous donor on March 31, the largest single sum in the school’s history.

The process by which large donations are solicited and negotiated is a years-long affair between the donating and receiving party.

According to Mid-Pacific President Dr. Paul Turnbull, agreeing to the terms of a large donation is an involved conversation between the two parties.

“There’s always a process that tends to yield the best results. And ultimately, that process is the same as making a friend, you get to know each other, you discover that you have similar likes and interests, you discover that your goals, long term goals are also very similar. Over a period of time you discover that it’s okay to be very honest about your needs,” Turnbull said.

As transformational as this gift will be, the short term effects may be minimal, with some plans scheduled for completion by 2035.

“I don’t think it really affects us juniors really. I feel like it’s going to affect the upcoming high schoolers,” junior Melsum Ratto said.

One of the first programs to be immediately affected by the increase in funding will be the financial aid system. Mid-Pacific intends to transition to a need-blind-system, meaning that they can provide for the needs of any students who require tuition assistance.

“I would love the opportunity one day to be what’s referred to as a ‘need blind’ school, so that anybody can come here, regardless of their financial position,” Turnbull said.

Aside from the plans already published on the school website to build a track on campus, Turnbull intends to launch new learning programs and improve existing facilities.

“We are essentially building out what we’re referring to as the Center for Advancing Education. The center would be like a fourth school. So that expansion of XLP [extended learning program] allows students then to take classes in person or hybrid. It allows you to take stackable studio courses, so think like a couple of weeks. And ultimately you can put a bunch of those classes together for a certificate like when you graduate high school,” Turnbull said.

On the facilities side, the middle school will see significant improvements.

“Our middle school quad is a priority for us in terms of the age of the buildings and more importantly, the restrictions and space that older buildings have compared to the needs of deeper learning in the way that we engage students in classes,” Turnbull said.

Turnbull intends to build on the previous success of Wood Hall.

“We envision a building that looks very similar to Wood Hall. It will be larger though, it’ll be two stories, and it’ll have more studio space,” Turnbull said.

Another facilities improvement under discussion is an expanded performing arts center, which at least one student identified as a priority.

“I definitely want to see improvements in the facilities for the arts department, specifically, the theater program,” junior Maya Tokioka said.

The anonymity of the donation is a key factor in determining the motives of the donor.

“It’s just about giving back to your community. And if [Mid-Pacific] had shaped who you are, as a person, it might be very important for you to give back and give that gift to other people,” Tokioka said.