The school's trustees personally contributed $11.2 million of the undisclosed project budget and a $15 million lead gift from alumnus Stanford Phelps, chairman of Commonwealth Oil Refining, accounts for the building's name.
At a less architecturally enlightened institution, Phelps
would have played the role that Saltman did.
When the New England regional conference of the AIA gathered at Exeter and toured Phelps
just after its opening in September, Centerbrook principal William Grover FAIA joked that his
firm designed the building by convening a series of four intensive workshops, inviting everyone from the school to take part, jotting down the participants' ideas and then taking credit for them as Centerbrook design proposals.