The title of this blog post is a direct quote from Doug Bennett, Academy’s facilities director, when asked about the great weather we’ve been experiencing these past few weeks. The sunny skies have not only improved everyone’s moods, but have also helped our construction crews make significant progress.
Have you seen how fast the new upper school wing is going up? It seems like everyone who has visited campus recently is amazed by the pace of change, especially in that area of construction.
That wing is going to house a College Counseling Office suite on the first floor as well as 10 new classrooms, including a global studies area for our foreign language programs. We’ll feature more about the plans for this wing in a future post.
Another area that is progressing quickly is the Lazarus Courtyard, which sits between Morris Hall and the Dining Hall. Now that most of the underground work has been completed there, it is time to install a 20-foot wide walkway from the MS/US dropoff circle past the dining hall entrance. The foundation for the dining hall addition will also begin in the coming weeks.
For these reasons, the fence line has been reconfigured to close off access to the Dining Hall from the MS/US dropoff circle. This means that for the next five weeks (until the week of October 5th), the only entrance to the Dining Hall will be from the covered walkway that connects to the Barton Room hallway.
According to Mr. Bennett, the 20-foot sidewalk is a requirement from the fire department so that safety vehicles and equipment can easily access the inner parts of our campus. It also will serve as an entryway for the mobile classrooms that will be delivered in late September. For those concerned about the conditions of temporarily having classes in “trailers,” Mr. Bennett assures that these units will be adequate learning spaces.
“The mobile classrooms are very nice,” he says. “The size of them – 30 feet by 24 feet – is comparable to our existing upper school classrooms. They will also have new flooring, sidewalls and acoustical ceilings as well as whiteboards and other accessories according to the needs of each teacher.”
Our middle school students already have computer classes in a mobile unit, and the new upper school spaces will be twice that size.
Mr. Bennett also wants to emphasize that even though foundation work for the new dining hall walls will start in the coming weeks, the existing dining hall space used currently by students every day for lunch will not be affected at all this school year. Work on the interior dining area will not begin until next summer.
And if you’re wondering about Mr. Bennett’s overall outlook for construction progress this fall, his response is: “Let’s hope for continued good weather.”