A historic gift from American businessman, philanthropist and professional sports owner Gordon Gund is fueling transformative changes for Bolles Hall and the Bolles Residential Life program in Jacksonville. While the amount is undisclosed, it marks the largest single donor gift in the School’s history, according to Bolles Chief Advancement Officer Carol Nimitz.
“This gift fulfills our community’s longtime vision of locating our Girls Residential Life program on the Bolles Upper School San Jose Campus and allows the program to grow and expand in its experience,” Nimitz said. Female boarders at Bolles have been living in a residence hall on the Bolles Middle School Bartram Campus while their male peers call the third floor of Bolles Hall home. “Girls will soon be able to live on the campus where they learn and – along with boy boarder and day student peers – flourish in an environmentally friendly facility.”
Called the Llura “Lulie” Liggett Gund ’58 Bartram Residence Hall for Girls, the project encompasses the entire second floor of Bolles Hall and will double Bolles’ female boarding capacity from 30 to 60 students –positioning the program to meet increasing admission demand. The work includes notable environmental enhancements to the entire building, originally developed in the mid-1920s as a posh hotel before its founding as a school in 1933. Bolles Hall will be 100 percent solar energy dependent once the new residence hall opens in July 2021.
Local architecture firm Luke Architecture P.A. has designed plans for the new spaces and Bent Construction is contractor for the six-month project. The full scope of work hinges on future completion of a STEM building planned for the Upper School San Jose Campus bluff. This building, expected to house the School’s science, math and technology offerings, adds classroom space displaced by the residence hall expansion.
The Llura “Lulie” Liggett Gund ’58 Bartram Residence Hall for Girls project also provides new learning spaces for students on the Bolles Middle School Bartram Campus. Former girls’ dorm rooms on this campus will be converted into new classrooms and areas for collaboration.
The Gunds’ gift epitomizes the importance of education, conservation and the independent school experience – especially for young women.
Lulie Gund attended Bartram School for girls in the 1950s before it merged with The Bolles School in 1991. She is shown in the photo below on the back row at the far left.
An avid supporter of both schools and a philanthropist who made tangible changes in the realms of blinding retinal diseases, conservation and renewable energy, Gund passed away in 2020. Husband Gordon and their sons, Grant and Zack, made the gift in her honor and their generosity is unmatched.
“The indelible impact Lulie made on the world through her philanthropic endeavors is tangible and forever changes the future for Bolles,” Nimitz said. “We are incredibly grateful to the Gund family for making this gift, it truly refines and advances the educational experiences of our children now and in the future.”