Holland Hall Breaks Ground for Commons Area
The $20-million project is designed to further enhance the sense of community already present at Holland Hall.
Holland Hall fifth grader Leo Arroyave
Holland Hall fifth grader Leo Arroyave is finishing his first year at the college preparatory school in south Tulsa. “Everybody here treats you well,” he said. “On my first day, everybody was nice to me. Once you’re a part of Holland Hall, everyone is family.”
Leo’s description of the school wasn’t about a building, even though he was representing the student body at the recent groundbreaking for the new Tandy Student Commons area and Chapman Green. Leo talked about the love he felt for his classmates and teachers. The new structure and commons area, however, embody Leo’s message by creating a unique space for students, faculty and alumni to share community.
The $20 million project will upgrade and expand the school’s dining capabilities and provide space for heath and wellness programming. Students, parents, visitors and faculty will be able to use the commons area for planning, meeting or enjoying time together on campus. In addition, an Alumni Center will have conference rooms to encourage faculty and community meetings, while the outdoor commons area will provide space for campus events.
Margie Warren and Beth Goddard, Holland Hall alumni, whose children also attend(ed) the school, escorted a group of visitors through the building on the day of the ground breaking.
“One of the visitors asked why kids come to the school,” Margie said. “Academics are outstanding, but that’s not it. It’s fun! There are so many opportunities here, and we don’t pigeon-hole kids.”
She explained that students are not only encouraged to try new classes and activities, but are required to do so. For example, students must take two art classes. The school’s small size allows students to try a variety of classes, extracurriculars and athletics without feeling embarrassed or out of place.
“It’s so small, you don’t have to already be an athlete,” Margie said. “You can be a beginner.”
“I found out who I was here,” Beth said, “by being able to try and fail inside of an exceptionally caring and kind community. You may not know that or appreciate it until you turn 18, but Holland Hall fosters independence while being fully supportive. It’s an apprenticeship in self-reliance.”
Margie pointed out that the school visitors she had hosted that day were surprised at the diversity in the student body. She admitted that there is a perception that Holland Hall is an affluent community with very little diversity, and that is a perception that she and others want to dispel. “It’s understandable, but we have to fight that.” She explained that the school actively seeks students of varying socioeconomic backgrounds, religions and races, backing that up with over $2 million in scholarships.
Roy Johnson, an alumnus and member of the Holland Hall Hall of Fame who spoke at the ground breaking, said that the new facility will support the school’s “commitment to create leaders…that will go out and share their knowledge and make them agents of change in their communities.”