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Plans for facilities project at Manlius Pebble Hill given approval

At the Nov. 3 meeting of the DeWitt Planning Board, plans for a new athletic center and fine arts facility for Manlius Pebble Hill School were approved.

The new construction is a key element of the “MPH Rising” initiative made public last May. School officials spent the summer and fall consulting with faculty and working with architects to ensure the new facilities are designed with student and teacher needs in mind. Besides adding new space, the $5 million project will enhance the school’s academic program, strengthen financial aid, and improve faculty compensation.

Head of School Jim Dunaway called the decision “a tremendous step forward for Manlius Pebble Hill School — a step that affirms and advances the School’s mission in ways that deeply enhance the student experience.”

If weather cooperates, school officials said the groundbreaking is planned for mid-November.

Syracuse businessman, John Mezzalingua, an alumnus of Manlius Pebble Hill School, has been a champion of the MPH rebuild and has personally provided $10 million in philanthropic support to the school over the past four years. His generosity culminated with his largest and most recent contribution to kick-off MPH Rising. Mezzalingua called the new facilities a “vital next step” in the School’s long history. He predicted the new student-centered spaces will “invigorate and solidify the School’s dynamic role in Syracuse.”

Mezzalingua’s belief in and support of MPH has prompted numerous friends, parents and alumni of the school to offer gifts of their own to further strengthen the school’s financial footing, school officials said.