Culture / Newsy

River Oaks Private School’s $65 Million Expansion Sets National Records

Influential Parents Power Campaign to Double School’s Size, Add Robotic Perks

BY // 12.10.18

River Oaks Baptist School is expanding its horizons with a record-breaking $65 million transformation. The private school’s expansion is driven by the largest fundraising effort in the country for a school that ends in the eighth grade, according to the National Association of Independent Schools.

You can thank some familiar faces for the transformation taking place in part at 3900 Westheimer, the site of a former Walgreens building the school purchased. Powerhouse philanthropists Keith and Alice Mosing, Fayez and Susan Sarofim, Elizabeth and Gary Petersen and Jeff and Mindy Hildebrand are powering the River Oaks Baptist School’s revamp.

River Oaks Baptist is set to grow to a whopping 166,000 square feet, roughly doubling the existing size of the school. This includes the Sarofim Leadership Center, the Keith and Alice Mosing Middle School and a 150-space underground parking garage built to maximize the green space.

School parents Keith and Alice Mosing made the lead gift of $10 million. The four-floor middle school, with one floor per grade, will house areas for both arts and sciences. It will include an advanced robotics lab and maker space, science labs, music rooms, a blue-box theater, visual arts studios, outdoor learning areas and a prayer garden.

The Keith and Alice Mosing Middle School will sit above the parking garage, and the prior middle school classrooms will be utilized for kindergarten through fourth grade classes.

The Sarofim Leadership Center — named after the Houston billionaire — will serve as the new primary entrance and administrative wing of the new-and-improved River Oaks Baptist. The exact amount of the Sarofims’ contribution was not disclosed.

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The Petersens contributed $5 million early on in the campaign, and the Hildebrands donated the final $5 million this past summer.

The school plans to gradually increase enrollment over time, aided greatly by the extra space. As of September, 853 students attended River Oaks Baptist, running all the way from 2-year-olds in the Discovery and Discovery Plus programs all the way to eighth graders. The aim is to eventually increase each grade level by 10 students, beginning with fifth and sixth grade and moving up from there.

Tuition at River Oaks Baptist ranges from $19,795 for prekindergarten to $25,620 for seventh and eighth grade.

Space City-based Jackson & Ryan Architects are responsible for the renovation’s design, and Houston company W.S. Bellows Construction will build it.

Your master class in remaking a school is in session.

Lynn Zarr, JR - Martha Turner Sotheby's

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