Canberra Airport owner, philanthropist and Canberra Grammar School old boy Terry Snow has donated $20 million to his former school for a 1,400-seat auditorium, a music centre and a library in the heart of its campus.
It is believed the donation is the largest endowment to a school in Australian history.
Architecturally designed to honour the existing Breezeway and forecourt to the school’s heritage quadrangle, the complex will include a 450 square-metre library, a formal entryway and a new assembly and concert hall.
It will also include four music classrooms, up to 20 music tuition rooms and a staff room.
The Centre for Music and Terry Snow Auditorium will begin construction in late 2019 and is planned to open in 2021.
Mr Snow, who attended Canberra Grammar School from 1953 to 1961, said he hopes the new infrastructure will “change the school forever”.
“I would like to see this school be the highwater mark for independent education in Australia,” Mr Snow said. “I went to this school. I enjoyed my life at this school.
“Even so, there weren’t the opportunities then that kids have today. Together with the school, we’re giving them the tools to excel in those things they would not normally have the opportunity of doing.
“Undertaking this venture, I think it’ll enhance the life of the school and culture of the school, and add vibrancy to the education here. Not only for the participants of the orchestra and concerts, but to the whole school family.”
It is not the first time Mr Snow has donated to Canberra Grammar School. In 2014, he gifted $8 million to Grammar for The Snow Centre for Education in the Asian Century.
The Head of Canberra School, Dr Justin Garrick, said the new complex will transform the face and the future of the school.
“Mr Snow’s exceptional gift will accelerate the school over more than a decade of development, benefiting thousands of current and future students, staff members and families,” Dr Garrick said.
“It will place music at the centre of the school’s educational life, and it will emphasise the centrality of learning, research and study in the most beautiful location on campus.
“The Auditorium and Centre for Music will give not just the school, but the Canberra community, an outstanding learning facility, meeting space, conference venue, concert hall and community resource for music that will make the school more intrinsic than ever to the educational and cultural life of Australia’s capital.”