Capital Giving

Capital Improvements Elevate The sun valley Community School Learning Experience

Sun Valley Community School does not fund large capital needs out of its operational budget. We are grateful for the assistance of generous donors in making capital improvements possible at our school. Topnotch facilities enhance the educational experience of our students and create dynamic learning opportunities.

Currently, the school is finalizing the fundraising  for Rufus M. Brown Hall, which opened on January 3, 2017. To discuss this campaign or other capital needs at the school, please contact the Development Office.

Campaign for the Ketchum Campus

Project Overview

Sun Valley Community School opened Rufus M. Brown Hall, its new residential facility and campus hub on January 3, 2017. The new facility has transformed the Sun Valley Community School experience for every student, teacher, and athlete alike and, with the support of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), elevated programs for age-appropriate SVSEF winter sports athletes, regardless of school affiliation, who aspire to the highest levels.

Launched in 2011, Sun Valley Community School’s thriving Residential Program averages approximately 20 enrolled students per year. Sun Valley Community School’s Board of Directors approved the purchase of the former Smith Sport Optics building in the fall of 2015 to provide for the program’s long-term housing needs and to allow for an increase in enrollment capacity of up to 44 students. Enabled by the new facility, an expanded and enhanced Residential Program:

  • Strengthens the financial foundation of Sun Valley Community School, which allows the school to sustain and augment academic and co-curricular programs, ECC-12.
  • Expands students’ horizons by bringing mission-aligned boarders with a diversity of backgrounds, cultures, and passions to campus from around the world.
  • Creates a healthy, safe, productive, and dynamic communal gathering place for Sun Valley Community School students and Wood River Valley adolescents.
  • Enhances the Sun Valley Ski Academy and the school’s partnership with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.
  • Impacts the economy and vitality of the Wood River Valley in a significant way.

Rufus M. Brown Hall has enabled Sun Valley Community School to grow its national and international presence and, through direct recruitment, strengthen its three academies: the Sun Valley Ski Academy (SVSA), the Outdoor Leadership Academy (OLA), and the Creative Arts Academy (CAA). Each of the school’s unique academies offers high school students the opportunity to pursue their passions for skiing, the outdoors, and the arts at the highest levels.

Project Benefits

  • The project provides a long-term housing solution for Sun Valley Community School’s Residential Program.
  • Boarding students, who have joined Sun Valley Community School from 14 states and territories and 13 countries to date, bring a diversity of backgrounds, cultures, and passions to campus and add to the learning environment of the school and community.
  • Rufus M. Brown Hall serves as a hub for the entire Cutthroat Community with facilities for students to gather, train, socialize, play, study, cook, and dine together.
  • The Residential Program provides Sun Valley Community School with financial stability and enhances school programs, ECC-12, in addition to reducing the school’s exposure to economic fluctuations.
  • Rufus M. Brown Hall heightens the school’s ability to recruit both day and residential students from near and far.
  • The project deepens Sun Valley Community School’s partnership with SVSEF and elevates programs for winter-sports athletes who aspire to the highest levels.
  • Sun Valley Community School high school athletes and faculty members, as well as all age-appropriate SVSEF athletes, regardless of school affiliation, have access to the athletes’ training center, modeled after the USSA Center of Excellence.
  • The project builds upon the community’s natural strengths, while elevating the Wood River Valley’s legacy of phenomenal winter sports, abundant outdoor activities, and vibrant artistic offerings.
  • An expanded Residential Program strengthens the local economy and vibrancy of the Wood River Valley.

Floor Plans


1973 – Sun Valley Community School Founded


  • Sun Valley Community School offers its first classes in the basement of the Episcopal Church in Sun Valley, Idaho. The school offers a unique educational philosophy that emphasizes experiential learning in the classroom and in the outdoors. The first class graduates in 1977 with 13 students. 
  • Currently Sun Valley Community School enrolls nearly 400 students with approximately 160 students in grades nine through twelve. The school prepares students to go “from here...anywhere” with the same founding educational philosophy.

2011 – Residential Program and SVSA Launched

  • Utilizing the leased Bald Mountain Inn, the school creates a residential program and launches a ski academy known as the Sun Valley Ski Academy (SVSA) in 2011.
  • In partnership with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), SVSA provides Sun Valley Community School day and boarding students with a superb education coupled with SVSEF’s elite competitive ski and snowboard programs.

2012 – Outdoor Leadership Academy (OLA) Created


  • The OLA is an expansion of Sun Valley Community School’s Outdoor Program. The program currently enrolls 56 high school students and enables outdoor enthusiasts to pursue advanced training and certification in Mountain & Rock, River, Wilderness, and Winter Backcountry Travel.

2015 – Building Purchased and $8 Million Campaign Launched


  • The Board of Directors, faculty, and staff form a task force to secure the future of the Residential Program and explore long-term housing options.
  • The school purchases the Smith Sport Optics Building
  • In addition to a $4 million internal Sun Valley Community School capital campaign, the school and the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation partner in a historic partnership to jointly raise $4 million.

2016 – Creative Arts Academy (CAA) Founded; Building Remodel Begins

Creative Arts Academy (CAA) Started and Ketchum Campus Remodel Launched

  • The CAA offers dedicated instruction and opportunities in the arts to students for whom creativity is a critical part of their school experience.
  • The Sun Valley Community School's Board of Directors votes to move forward with the transformation of the Ketchum Campus in the spring of 2016.

2017 – Ketchum Campus Opens On Time and On Budget

  • The remodel of the Ketchum Campus is completed on time and on budget. The 25,085 sq. ft. facility opens on January 3.

2018 – Ketchum Campus Named After Rufus M. Brown

On March 21, 2018, the Ketchum Campus was named Rufus M. Brown Hall in memory of Rufus M. Brown, who supported numerous philanthropic causes in the Wood River Valley and chaired the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Board of Directors for many years.


Building Committee

Building Committee

John Baker
Joan Swift
Tom Swift

Guy Cherp
Eva DeWolfe
Keith Keim
Jonna Mendes
Ben Pettit

Capital Committee

Capital Committee

Peggy Baker
Kipp Nelson
John Perenchio
Steve Shafran
Cordy Snyder ‘84

Sam Adicoff
Gary Black, Jr.
Zach Crist ‘91
Shannon Finnegan
Bill Griffin
Kim Hagenbuch
Rebecca Hemingway
David Holmes
Jonna Mendes
Tory Atkinson O’Connor ‘85
Ben Pettit
Pete Smith
Louise Stumph
Rebecca Waycott
Jody Zarkos

Why Give to the Campaign

Steve Shafran, Sun Valley Community School Board Director, Finance Committee Co-Chair, and Campaign for the Ketchum Campus Co-Chair discusses the importance of the Ketchum Campus for the school, its partner organizations, and the Wood River Valley.

Donor Recognition

Sun Valley Community School recognizes contributions from individuals, families, and organizations to the Campaign for the Ketchum Campus in a manner that gives appropriate credit to donors and inspires others to follow their generous example. Accordingly, the Head of School has approved a Donor Recognition Plan that honors campaign donors of $10,000 or more. There are two forms of permanent donor recognition available through the campaign.

Donor Recognition Wall

All donors of $10,000 or more have their names permanently listed on a Donor Recognition Wall in Rufus M. Brown Hall. The donor wall recognizes gifts in six categories:

  • $1 million or more
  • $500,000 to $999,999
  • $250,000 to $499,999
  • $100,000 to $249,999
  • $30,000 to $99,999
  • $10,000 to $29,999

Named Gift Opportunities

Donors of $50,000 or more, in addition to having their names listed on the permanent Donor Recognition Wall, may have the opportunity to name (for themselves, their families, their businesses, or a person or persons of their choice) a functional area within Rufus M. Brown Hall. A plaque naming the area is placed inside or adjacent to the entrance to the space named by the donor. Named Gift Opportunities are awarded to donors on a first-come, first-served basis.

Rufus M. Brown Hall News

The Julia Argyros Training Center at Community School’s Ketchum Campus has been designated a United States Ski & Snowboard High Performance Center. This designation reflects a collaboration between the Sun Valley Ski Academy (a partnership between Community School and Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) and United States Ski & Snowboard to provide young snow sport athletes with regional training centers that feature the most effective equipment and training techniques to develop their potential to the fullest.

According to United States Ski & Snowboard, “club or academy regional high performance centers are key to sharing best practices across the country. High Performance Centers will focus on sport science and sports medicine at regional facilities managed by United States Ski & Snowboard gold or silver level clubs and meeting specific staffing and infrastructure requirements. The long-term success will be based on an exchange of best practices between centers around the country.”

The Julia Argyros Training Center in Community School’s Ketchum Campus is modeled on the United States Ski & Snowboard Center for Excellence in Park City, Utah. The state-of-the-art, 3,200-square-foot space serves age-appropriate members of Community School and Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) and offers everything an individual needs to become strong and fit for their athletic endeavors. The designation of the facility as a United States Ski & Snowboard High Performance Center recognizes the world-class caliber of the equipment and the level of expertise available at the site to athletes pursuing the highest levels of snow sport competition.

Sun Valley Ski Academy Program Director Jonna Mendes said, “Since the inception of the Sun Valley Ski Academy and Community School’s Residential Program, we have consistently put in place programs that enable our student-athletes to receive a phenomenal education while training and competing at an elite level in their respective snow sport disciplines. As one of very few independent secondary schools with a designated United States Ski & Snowboard High Performance Center, we continue to pursue initiatives that elevate the student-athlete experience.”

Johnie Michael joined Community School in August 2017 as High Performance Specialist. In this role, he manages the Julia Argyros Training Center at the Ketchum Campus and coordinates strength, conditioning, and sport science services for high school athletes participating in a wide variety of Community School and Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation sports. Prior to joining Community School, Johnie worked at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah, providing strength and conditioning training for all disciplines with a focus on freestyle. He holds a BS in health and education and promotion and a MS in health and human performance from Oklahoma State University. He is also an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Johnie has loved his work in the Julia Argyros Training Center. “Since my arrival this summer, I have had the privilege of working with different teams, meeting hundreds of athletes, and attending many wonderful Community School sporting events,” he said. Over the course of the fall athletic season, Johnie was incredibly busy working with athletes. “At peak usage this fall, the training center hosted approximately 150 athletes from eight different teams and, on average, I was working 20 sessions each week with each of the different teams.”

Johnie was no less effusive in describing how the Julia Argyros Training Center’s design and equipment lend themselves to efficient and fun workouts. “The ability to have a large number of athletes in the facility at one time (i.e., up to 34 soccer players) has been paramount in developing a training culture and team camaraderie. Having space to accommodate many athletes allows for efficient sessions for larger teams. For smaller teams, having ample space allows us to give each athlete an independent lifting station so that they can move freely and not be hindered by waiting for bars, plates, or other equipment,” Johnie said. “As far as equipment goes, having barbells, bumper plates, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, Rogue boxes, and Stages SC Series stationary bikes gives us the flexibility to prescribe a multitude of exercises, lifts, conditioning sessions, and modalities for athletes to perform. Having such a broad array of equipment allows us the luxury of creativity and also keeps the athletes from experiencing monotony from performing the same exercises over and over.”

Rufus M. Brown Hall at Sun Valley Community School

Thank You

Julia Argyros Training Center

Student-athletes train in the Julia Argyros Training Center at Rufus M. Brown Hall for optimal athletic performance .