Advance Friends Select: Transformation Campaign

Advance Friends Select: Transformation Campaign


For more than 300 years, Friends Select School has provided unparalleled educational opportunities for generations of students in keeping with the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equity and justice, and stewardship. 

The Advance Friends Select: Transformation Campaign is creating physical spaces that embody these Quaker values, providing the financial underpinning that ensures the school can continue building a diverse, inclusive, and nurturing community for generations to come.

With its Transformation Campaign, Friends Select is lifting up the Ben Franklin Parkway, along with the community of educators, scholars, and leaders who call it home to reflect an accessible educational space located in the heart of the city. 

This will enhance the educational experience for Friends Select students, and it expands the definition of what it means to be a learning institution that is in the city and of the city. 




Friends Select School is embarking on the creation of a state-of-the-art, outdoor learning space that would revolutionize the school’s educational opportunities for all students and families, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community. In creating a dynamic open-air environment for lower, middle, and upper school, the Back Lot Transformation would fundamentally re-envision the Parkway Building’s back lot and playground, resulting in a multi-use, multi-level green space with endless possibilities for play, learning, socialization, collaboration, and enjoying nature. The Back Lot Transformation would also prioritize universal accessibility and campus security in creating a multi-level structure that would be ADA-compliant, adding elevator access to the school’s rooftop athletic field and event space, benefiting both Friends Select’s community and the city of Philadelphia.

For over 330 years, Friends Select has had a symbiotic relationship with Philadelphia, with the city acting as classroom, playground, and laboratory for Friends Select students and educators. As a publicly visible component of the school’s campus, the Back Lot Transformation would bring the school’s continuing physical transformation to the surrounding sidewalks and streets while strengthening the connection between Friends Select and Philadelphia. By reimagining the 16th Street frontage, the school hopes to reintroduce itself to the city in a way that breaks down physical barriers and ensures that Friends Select is an institution that is in the city and of the city. This space would provide new opportunities for engaging children and families from across the Philadelphia area and beyond. 

For this project, a team of architects from Metcalfe Architecture & Design, Studio Ludo, and OLIN incorporated thoughtful input from Friends Select students, faculty, and staff to create a beautiful conceptual design that symbolizes an inclusive Quaker community. The result is unlike any space in Center City. The Back Lot Transformation is designed to serve all students, creating a green space that welcomes users to socialize, connect, and build community. It is a demonstration of an inclusive Quaker community—a welcoming, multi-use place for all.



As part of the Advance Friends Select: Transformation Campaign, Friends Select’s new upper school STEAM Building and recently transformed Parkway Building reflect our commitments to excellence in teaching and learning, our community, and the city of Philadelphia. 


Friends Select’s newly transformed STEAM Building and Parkway Building were:

  • Designed by James Bradberry Architects and working with Anchor Management Group. 

  • Created with input from many Friends Select faculty and staff members, who were heavily involved in the design process.

  • Built with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), as well as sustainability. 

  • Created to enable the school to radically transform our learning environment, but the values that undergird that education remain the same as they have been for centuries, and those driving principles will shape the next generation of Friends Select graduates. 





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