As you've probably read or seen in the news, our Board of Trustees voted to bring a boarding component back to our upper school. Efforts are already underway, and things will be happening quickly. I look forward to updating people at the Town Hall on December 13th, from 6:00 to 7:00 PM, in Becherer Hall. The initial community reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, and it's great to see the media highlighting our school so favorably.
As parents and friends of the school, you have an important role to play in promoting the successful rollout of this initiative. Take time to reflect on your role as an ambassador for our beloved school. What brought you to Rivermont? What have you loved about your (or your child's) experience here? You'll have opportunities over the next several months to interact with community members, potential parents, potential donors, etc. There is nothing more powerful in promoting our school than your testimony and support. You might be wondering, "what's in this for my child?"
In addition to your personal reasons for loving Rivermont, I'd like to highlight some key ways that this initiative will positively impact the experiences of our local students. First, our upper school can benefit from additional enrollment. Adding 30 students will enrich the social and academic experience of our students by bringing more energy, global perspectives, and diversity of thought into our classrooms. For example, when a Vietnamese student is sitting next to a student from Moline, alongside a student from mainland China, and they are all discussing the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, which sparked our involvement in the Vietnam war, as a proxy war against Communist China, our students will have a greatly enhanced experience.
Secondly, the boarding tuition revenue generated by this initiative will support the entire school, in many ways. The national average for independent day school tuition is over $22,000 per year. Rivermont currently invests over $18,000-per-student-per-year into each student's education, yet our tuition is set between $13,620 and $14,780, depending on the grade in which your child is enrolled. That means that, even if every student were able to pay full tuition, we would still be operating at a deficit. Nearly 60% of our students receive financial aid, and we will continue to be fully committed to making the Rivermont experience affordable to families and students who are a good fit for our culture and rigorous academics. The revenue generated by the boarding program will help us to keep day tuition lower than the national average, while also ensuring the school's sustainability.
Beyond sustainability, the additional revenue will help us continue to build on our world-class academics. I would like to do many things to enhance the Rivermont experience: expanding our Mandarin classes and adding Arabic, creating a maker space, expanding our award-winning robotics program, building on our music offerings, improving safety, improving employee benefits, and adding more electives - to name just a few! Adding 1.5 (or so) million Dollars to our annual gross revenue will give us the resources we need to take Rivermont's program and culture to the next level.
The third benefit to our day students will come in the form of a more college-like experience. A thriving campus, complete with evening and weekend activities, is an essential component of the college experience. We are going to heighten the Collegiate part of Rivermont Collegiate. This will positively impact lower school and upper school students alike.
Finally, In association with this initiative, we are going to be building a new building, somewhere on the grounds. The new building will house facilities for robotics, a maker's space, technology classrooms, science labs, student workspaces, and a new student center. It will be a fun, safe, and engaging place where teenagers will enjoy spending time.
There is much work to be done. I'm confident that with your support, we will make our way through the challenges and realize the tremendous potential this change has to offer our community.
On many levels, the future is bright at Rivermont Collegiate!