Suzanne Grant was known for bringing people together, and that’s exactly what the new and improved Suzanne Grant Theater, named in her honor, will do for the Bedford Central School District.
Ms. Grant, who died in Sept. 2019, was a member of the BCSD Board of Education for six years. She was also known in the BCSD community as an active parent and local business owner. When she died suddenly at just age 56, those who knew Ms. Grant channeled their grief into memorializing her charitable spirit.
Formerly known as the “Little Theater,” the performance hall located on the second floor of Fox Lane Middle School was renamed the Suzanne Grant Theater through unanimous board vote in June 2020. In a resolution passed by the board of education last year, Ms. Grant was described as a passionate volunteer whose “contributions to the BCSD went far beyond her role as a board member and included participation and leadership of numerous committees, PTO’s, events and initiatives.” In addition to her six years on the BOE, Ms. Grant “was a staunch supporter and advocate for the visual and performing arts programs in BCSD,” the resolution added.
In light of Ms. Grant’s strong support for the arts, the board of education also voted to accept monetary donations from the Suzanne Grant Memorial Fund “for the purpose of renovating and improving the current Fox Lane Middle School Little Theater in a manner and fashion acceptable to the BCSD Board of Education.”
The Suzanne Grant Memorial Fund is supported by the Suzanne Grant Foundation, a nonprofit created shortly after Ms. Grant’s passing by family and friends.
In the past year alone, the memorial fund has put more than $100,000 toward the theater’s revitalization.
In March 2020, the board of education accepted a donation in the amount of $8,000 from the Suzanne Grant Memorial Fund for architecture fees and expenses associated with the architectural design, preparation of related architecture plans and project cost estimates for potential renovations of its middle school theater space. On Aug. 12, the board accepted the donation of an Estonia grand piano at the insured value of $50,000. On Aug 26, the board recognized and accepted the donation of services from the Suzanne Grant Foundation for the floor refinishing of the theater at an estimated value of $13,433. On Nov. 4, the board accepted another donation, this one in the amount of $62,490, from the foundation for renovation work at the theater.
Donations continue to pour in, according to Dave Grant, who is in charge of his late wife’s namesake foundation. “Thanks to the generosity of folks both inside and outside our community, we’ve been able to raise a lot of money and do a lot of things, and there’s even more planned,” Mr. Grant said.
The middle school’s theater space is the familiar site of student concerts, performances, art shows, science fairs, school meetings, community events, board of education meetings, and many other gatherings. “It really is at the intersection of our schools and our community, so it’s an appropriate space to dedicate to Suzanne,” Mr. Grant said.
FLMS Principal Susan Ostrofsky knew Ms. Grant well, both in her capacity as a member of the board of education and as a parent in the Mount Kisco Elementary School community. “She was such a positive force. I have never met someone who had such a way of connecting with people,” Ms. Ostrofsky said. “If she was behind something, then you knew it was for the greater good of the community,” the principal added.
Her comments underscored how fitting it is to dedicate a campus space with endless opportunities for connecting people in Ms. Grant’s honor.
Ms. Ostrofsky has also served as project manager for the construction underway at the Suzanne Grant Theater. The theater has already been retrofitted with an entirely new acoustic system, upgraded lighting, new entrances, new flooring and other improvements. New retractable seating is expected to be installed in the coming months.
“When the school year starts in the fall, our students will be walking into something that they can’t even wrap their heads around,” she said.
The theater renovation will be one of the last major projects for Ms. Ostrofsky before her retirement at the end of June. “I wanted to make sure that the bulk of the project was done before I retire. I wanted to do it right for Dave, for Suzanne, for our children, and for our community,” she said.
To learn more or to make a donation, visit the Suzanne Grant Foundation at thesuzannegrantfoundation.com.