The Odyssey School for dyslexic children announced yesterday that it has received a gift of up to $1 million to build a gymnasium.
Lindsay D. Dryden Jr., former owner of Dryden Oil Co., will give $500,000 immediately, according to a statement from the Stevenson school.
He is offering another $500,000 in matching funds as Odyssey embarks on a $5 million capital campaign.
"We're beside ourselves with glee," said Claire Miller, a member of the school's board of trustees.
Dryden, 76, has been a friend since grade school of Gordon R. Jones, vice chairman of Odyssey's board. Jones, a developer, is dyslexic, and his granddaughter is a pupil at Odyssey.
"His [Jones'] interest is what drove my interest," said Dryden, who is retired and lives in Ruxton. "They're doing a fantastic job with these young kids."
Odyssey has 145 pupils in grades one through eight. Founded by parents of children on a waiting list for another school serving dyslexics, it opened in 1994 in a Roland Park mansion.
After an $8.5 million capital campaign, the school moved in 2002 to the new Gordon R. Jones Hall in Stevenson.
Odyssey's 18-member board recently decided to embark on another capital campaign to raise money for a gymnasium and a connecting wing, and to increase the school's endowment.
When Dryden learned that the school would need a large sum upfront to break ground for the gymnasium, he decided to make a donation toward the building, which will be named after him.
The board hopes to begin construction early next year, the school said.