Expanding Our Campus to 1520 Race Street


Friends Select’s New Upper School STEAM Building

As part of the Advance Friends Select: Transformation Campaign, the purchase of 1520 Race Street provides Friends Select School the unparalleled opportunity to expand our campus in Center City Philadelphia and create an upper school STEAM building. This historic brick townhome is also directly adjacent to the Race Street Meetinghouse and Friends Center—the home of the Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, one of the two governing bodies of Friends Select. 1520 Race Street will allow Friends Select to extend the ways we use our great city as a campus, deepen our Quaker roots and values, and add much-needed space for upper school classrooms where excellence in teaching and learning abounds. With renovations projected to be complete prior to the start of the 2022-23 school year, the expansion to 1520 Race Street will:

  • Provide four floors and more than 15,000 square feet of space for three modern science laboratories, two visual arts studios, one digital design lab, and six additional upper school classrooms

  • Create community gathering spaces, meeting spaces for students and faculty, and upper school administrative offices

  • Sustain our commitment to Quaker values and social justice while also providing opportunities that elevate the student voice and agency for change

  • Expand Friends Select’s campus in Center City, and allow us to further our ability to leverage external partnerships to meet teaching and learning goals

  • Renovate a registered historic property while preserving the building’s facade and historic integrity

  • Enable a number of classrooms in the Parkway Building to be used for middle school, while maintaining half of upper school's classrooms in the Parkway Building as well

The purchase of the 1520 Race Street Building, as well as the revitalization of our current Parkway Building, support our vision of a school that—through its role and reputation as a renowned Center City institution—strengthens cross-cultural connections and reach through academic programming and global experiences, and leverages reciprocal partnerships to enhance educational, financial, and facility goals. 

For more information about supporting the Advance Friends Select: Transformation Campaign, please contact Christine Jefferson, chief development officer, at chrisj@friends-select.org, or 215.561.5900, x3141.

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Rooftop Athletic Field Upgrade

First page of the PDF file: FriendsSelectSchoolField-PRESENTATIONR2-000249491

Friends Select School has upgraded the rooftop athletic field, as part of the Advance Friends Select: Transformation Campaign. Working with Anchor Management Group, the same construction company that has been transforming our Parkway Building and 1520 Race Street, upgrades include:

  • A 50,000-square-foot synthetic turf field for athletics, recreation, and outdoor programming and events
  • An underlayment “shock” pad to significantly enhance safety 
  • Environmentally-friendly organic infills (instead of synthetic rubber pellets) 
  • Additional safety pads
  • Equipment guards
  • Spectator seating
  • A new scoreboard

Plans for the future include adding restrooms, lighting, storage, water fountains, and catering space on the rooftop. Read more about the history of Friends Select’s athletic field in Select News.

Parkway Building Transformation

Friends Select recently unveiled our Parkway Building's dynamic new learning spaces in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration, as part of the Advance Friends Select: Transformation Campaign. Speakers included Friends Select head of school Michael Gary, board of trustees clerk Ingrid Lakey ’89, P’27, student body leaders Margot Schneider ’22 and Nadia Sumner ’22, and Councilmember Helen Gym, with special guest, city representative Sheila Hess.

With renovations completed in time for the 2021-22 school year, the first floor transformation:

• Creates four new lower school classrooms
• Creates a new lower school art studio

• Provides a significantly larger, updated lobby space at the front entrance of the building to offer an inviting space for the community to gather
• Creates a front office suite for the head of school and admission department, as well as an admission lobby to welcome prospective students and their families
• Enhances the school’s accessibility and overall visibility
• Creates facilities that mirror and support the high quality programs we offer to students

First Floor Transformation

First Floor Transformation

Ribbon-Cutting Celebration

Parkway Building Ribbon-Cutting Celebration

Parkway Building Open House

Parkway Building Open House for Friends Select Families

"Giving out of conviction requires taking a leap of faith to support what you believe in. I believe in the impact that the Advance Friends Select: Transformation Campaign and these new learning spaces will have on generations of Friends Select students."

Liz Widdicombe P’18, ’22

Pictured are Liz with her children and brothers in front of the Race Street Meetinghouse. Left to right: Toby, Denis ’18, Fred Tubula ’18 (rear), Annie (front), Liz, Stefan ’22, and Gerry. Fred was a Friends Select international student from Kenya and has resided with the Widdicombe family since attending the school.