STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE SINCE DAY ONESince 1970, students from all backgrounds have chosen Oak Hall for its nurturing and supportive educational environment.
A PROUD HISTORY
Oak Hall Private School opened its doors on September 8, 1970. The school was founded by a group of 20 parents who wanted a quality private education for their children. "The intent of every member of the Board was to create a prep school—an excellent prep school for these youngsters who wanted to go on to college," said founding member Aden Keeter.
That first year, Oak Hall School was temporarily housed at Highlands Presbyterian Church, and eight teachers welcomed 35 students. One of the first tasks the student body faced was organizing the student council. Spirited campaigns were conducted, elections held, and a sponsor was chosen. They supervised the selection of the school colors—burgundy and gold—and the school mascot, the eagle.
During the first year, students, faculty, and parents worked hard to build a strong school. Students organized clubs and participated in athletics and many other extracurricular events.
Pleased with the first year's beginning, all of Oak Hall looked forward to moving to the new school campus located on Tower Road in west Gainesville. Our school's first classroom building was constructed on 33 acres and was occupied in December of 1972. Oak Hall grew quickly and required steady additions and new buildings.
A Growing Campus
The Edith D. Cofrin Theater was built in 1978, and many other improvements were completed in 1988, 1990, and 1993, including Olinger Stadium, Roger Maris Field, Lindbergh Science Wing, and an Oxborough Gymnasium renovation. A media center with a computer lab was built in 1996. Three years later, the school would obtain a bond in order to expand its facilities once again.
New Middle School Home
The Middle School opened its doors to 169 students on August 23, 1999. It housed an administration building and two classroom buildings. The new facility was characterized by Headmaster Richard Gehman as "the most ambitious project the school had undertaken." The new home for the 6th-8th grade students included nine spacious classrooms, two science laboratories, a conference room, and plenty of space for students to congregate and socialize. The separation of the Upper and Middle School students, besides being socially advantageous, allowed for new labs and classroom space at the Upper School.
Oak Hall and Martha Manson Become One
November 26, 2001, was a historic day for Oak Hall School and its neighbor, Martha Manson Academy (MMA). Thanks to an extraordinarily generous donation from friends of the school, Oak Hall acquired ownership of MMA. For 30 years, the two schools shared more than just an entrance on Tower Road; many MMA students went on to graduate from Oak Hall. "Combined, the two schools will be stronger than ever, offering a seamless Preschool-Grade 12 program unique to Gainesville and the surrounding area," said Headmaster Richard Gehman. "This new configuration will allow the school to enhance an already shared mission, creating a coherent, sequential academic curriculum while maintaining the advantages of small classes and personal attention on a safe, self-contained campus.”
Capital Campaign Spur Growth
In 2005, Oak Hall’s first capital campaign raised funds to expand athletic facilities, build new Middle School science labs, The Ford Center, the Cofrin Arts Center, and create additional classrooms.
Commitment to Early Childhood Education
In 2007, the school obtained a bond to finance the construction of the Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC). The center, which houses students in 3-year-old Preschool, Jr. Kindergarten, and Kindergarten, affirmed Oak Hall’s commitment to early childhood education.
A Second Capital Campaign
Oak Hall’s second capital campaign began in 2011, and many projects and improvements followed. In 2012, the Dr. Mohammad Faisal Family Media Center was completed and the ECLC was named in honor of benefactor Patti Shively–The Patti Shively Family Early Childhood Learning Center.
Additions and Renovations
In 2013, the centrally located administration building and a school store were constructed. The addition of this facility helped centralize administrative functions and increase productivity. In 2014, the Upper School building was partially renovated, and a modern student lounge was added to accommodate students during breaks and study sessions.
Campus Planning and Development
In 2017, Oak Hall's infrastructure project was completed, not only signifying the end of our dirt road entrance but the beginning of a growing and active campus. The infrastructure project was essential in fully merging the school together, improving traffic, and creating a streamlined movement for what had grown to be a bigger and more active campus than ever before.
Accelerating Academics and Athletics
In 2018, our STEM building was added to the Middle School to support math, science, and innovation. Additionally, six new top-notch tennis courts were added to support our highly competitive tennis program. Both of these projects were funded by the generosity and philanthropic spirit of our community!
Welcome Center and Safety Expansion
The Oak Hall Welcome Center not only provides a distinguished entrance and a welcoming first impression but also improves campus safety. This project is an expansion of our campus safety efforts and includes the addition of perimeter fencing. Much more than a new gate, it is a commitment to our children and our community, the things we hold most precious. The generosity of the families who have led this project, including many other initiatives at Oak Hall, continues to build a school and community where every student benefits.
Heads of School
DR. JAMES G. HUTCHINS
Richard H. Gehman
Michael F. Maher