In the largest single donation in the school’s 75-year history, the transformational gift will construct a state-of-the-art natatorium
(PRUnderground) April 19th, 2023
Austin, TX —St. Stephen’s Episcopal School announced today that the Still Water Foundation is gifting $17 million to St. Stephen’s to construct a natatorium.
“This transformational gift–the largest in the history of our school, and among the largest gifts to any independent school in Texas–will strengthen St. Stephen’s ability to continue building on our reputation of educating the holistic mind, body, and spirit of each student. We are profoundly grateful,” said Chris Gunnin, head of school.
Slated to open in fall of 2025 and housing a Myrtha 50-meter by 25-yard pool, the natatorium will dramatically enhance St. Stephen’s aquatic programming. The natatorium’s planned location is adjacent to the school’s Tennis Academy, boasting stunning hill country views of the gulch and the Colorado River.
The gift will allow St. Stephen’s to host year–round short and long-course meets, expand water polo practice and game space, and explore partnerships with community club programs. As the popularity of water polo and competitive swimming continues to increase, Gunnin notes that this world-class swim center will differentiate St. Stephen’s, as it will be among a handful of independent schools in the country with a 50-meter natatorium, and the only school in the Southwest Preparatory Conference (SPC) with such a space.
Ellen Osborne Ray ’86, P ’16,’20, executive director of Still Water Foundation and former St. Stephen’s Board of Trustees executive chair says, “As St. Stephen’s prepares for its 75th anniversary and embarks on the most ambitious comprehensive campaign in its history, it is Still Water’s great pleasure to make a gift of this significance. As an institution that has often needed to ‘make due’ over the years regarding facilities, St. Stephen’s made a compelling case for what a swim center of this caliber would mean for the entire school community–from recruitment and retention of students from around the world, potential local partnerships, to an enhanced space for community gatherings. We hope this gift will be used as a challenge to inspire and encourage alumni, parents and friends to join us in investing in St. Stephen’s to ensure the future of this special place.”
“For over 40 years, Still Water Foundation’s generosity has strengthened every aspect of our school, from capital investments and faculty support to consistent annual and endowment gifts,” said, Rt. Rev. Kai Ryan, bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and St. Stephen’s board chair. “As we begin the first phase of a substantial fundraising campaign that will impact all core areas– facility improvements; bolstered funds for scholarship and financial aid; and commitments to academic programs, faculty support and a larger annual fund, we are incredibly appreciative of the transformative early gift from the Still Water Foundation. It is simply extraordinary.”
About Still Water Foundation
Founded in 1982, Still Water is a private family foundation based in Austin that primarily funds organizations in Texas focused on the arts, education, the environment, spirituality, and social services.
About St. Stephen’s Episcopal School
St. Stephen’s Episcopal School is a co-ed boarding school for grades 8-12, and day school for grades 6-12. St. Stephen’s is part of the Diocese of Texas, in Austin, Texas. St. Stephen’s is a caring, diverse community, welcoming all faiths and grounded in the Christian tradition. We nurture moral growth, and value the potential and dignity of every human being. We challenge motivated students to live intelligently, creatively and humanely as contributing members of society. We develop the whole person by providing rigorous academic preparation, stimulating physical activities, and rich opportunities in the fine arts.
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Original Press Release.