The effort to privately fund a new $8.8 million performing and visual arts expansion at Oakwood Junior High and High School has received a boost.

Doug and Gay Lane have pledged $500,000 more for the project if that amount is matched by other contributions. The pair were major donors to the building of Lane Stadium, a $4 million site that opened in 2017 for the high school’s track, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse programs.

Doug Lane recently told school district officials he hopes the funding commitment will help the Oakwood Schools Foundation’s Flourish project reach $7 million and break ground later this year.

“I think these kids deserve a better performing arts and visual arts arrangement, and I think we need to go about the process of making it happen sooner rather than later,” the 1963 OHS alum said.

More than half of the $500,000 has been matched so far, according to the Oakwood Schools Foundation.

Gay Lane said she was involved in the arts in a number of ways while at OHS.

“I feel really strongly about the campaign because of my involvement in high school with the theater arts. We produced musicals and I participated in anything and in any way I could — backstage, the orchestra, the band, the choir,” she said. “I would do anything except be on stage … and I loved it.

“The Flourish campaign will provide students with unique experiences to learn about themselves, to make new friends and to discover new talents,” she added. “I think it’s a wonderful addition to the school system and I think it will enhance everybody’s lives and further enrich the community, which is already very special.”

Oakwood Superintendent Kyle Ramey said district officials “look forward to closing that gap” to $7 million “over the next several weeks and months.”

Doug Lane “was the catalyst in the conversation when we were opening Lane Stadium and talking about how we can take and do even more with private and public partnerships that are going on,” Ramey added.

The project would renovate the 114-year-old Far Hills Avenue building’s art area for “a new Visual Arts Center that includes new classrooms, and an open art gallery to showcase and celebrate student, alumni and community art,” foundation records state.

The plan also calls for updating the auditorium with acoustical and video enhancements, theatrical lighting and equipment upgrades.

A groundbreaking for the project is targeted for December, according to the foundation. It will be a three-phased project with fundraising continuing through 2023, officials said.

~Nick Blizzard

Article Link: Dayton Daily News