Capital Giving

Capital Improvements Elevate The Community School Learning Experience

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 raising funds to pay for the purchase and remodel of its new Ketchum Campus, which opened on January 3, 2017. To discuss the Campaign for the Ketchum Campus, or other capital needs at the school, please contact the Development Office.

Campaign for the Ketchum Campus

Project Overview

Community School opened the Ketchum Campus, its new residential facility and campus hub on January 3. The new facility has transformed the 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, Community School’s thriving Residential Program averages approximately 20 enrolled students per year. 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 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 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.

The Ketchum Campus will allow 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 Community School’s Residential Program.
  • Boarding students, who have joined Community School from 13 states and territories and 11 countries to date, bring a diversity of backgrounds, cultures, and passions to campus and add to the learning environment of the school and community.
  • The Ketchum Campus 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 Community School with financial stability and enhances school programs, ECC-12, in addition to reducing the school’s exposure to economic fluctuations.
  • The Ketchum Campus heightens the school’s ability to recruit both day and residential students from near and far.
  • The project deepens Community School’s partnership with SVSEF and elevates programs for winter-sports athletes who aspire to the highest levels.
  • 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 Ketchum Campus 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 – Community School Founded

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

2011 – Residential Program and SVSA Launched

  • The school creates a residential program and launches a ski academy known as the Sun Valley Ski Academy (SVSA) in 2011.
  • Utilizing the leased Bald Mountain Inn, the thriving Residential Program is now in its seventh year with an average of approximately 20 residential students per year.
  • In partnership with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), SVSA provides 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 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 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 CS 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.

Progress to Date

The Ketchum Campus has had and will continue to have a profound impact on Community School, the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, the school's other partner organizations, and the Wood River Valley—academically, athletically, culturally, and economically. To date, we have raised 90 percent of our $8 million campaign goal. We have made great progress. Now, we need your support to help us realize the vision of the Ketchum Campus. We are deeply grateful for contributions at all levels to achieve this goal.


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, 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

Community School will recognize 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 to honor campaign donors of $10,000 or more. There will be two forms of permanent donor recognition available through the campaign.

Donor Recognition Wall

All donors of $10,000 or more will have their names permanently listed on a Donor Recognition Wall to be constructed within the new Ketchum Campus Building. The donor wall will recognize 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 the Ketchum Campus. A plaque naming the area will be placed inside or adjacent to the entrance to the space named by the donor. Named Gift Opportunities will be awarded to donors on a first-come, first-served basis.

Ketchum Campus Building

$2 million

Main Floor

Athletes’ Training Center

$1 million


Dining Room


Primary Staff Apartment


Fireplace Room








Media Center & Game Room


Study Hall and Conference Room



Sun Valley Ski Academy Office


Upper Floor

Staff Apartment (2)



Student Living Suite (6)



Gathering Space


Study Space


Lower Level

Locker Room (2)



Ski Tuning Room


Laundry Room


Ketchum Campus News