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Chace House in the Spotlight

10/15/2012
School officially dedicates new dormitory to Kim Chace ’52.

Family members of Malcolm “Kim” Chace ’52 and trustees were on campus Saturday to check out the new Chace House dormitory, and to mark its official dedication. Current student-residents showed crowds the dorm rooms, the common room with widescreen TV, the faculty homes and all the other design features that make Chace House so unique.

And yes, they even got to see the composting toilets. The toilets are part of the dorm’s sustainability theme, which includes other environmentally friendly features like solar lights and efficient heating. They were a point of fascination for some visitors Saturday.

But the real talk of the day were the oohs and aahs over the new dormitory, completed in late summer, and named in honor of Kim Chace ’52, a longtime trustee and supporter of the school.

Chace House officially opened last month, welcoming 22 boys as residents and three faculty dorm parents. The dedication on Saturday was a culmination of the project.

Chace passed away in June 2011, but to commemorate his legacy, his family and friends gathered Saturday morning at the dormitory to remember him, and also to marvel at the dorm that his support helped make a reality.

Head of School John Packard led the ceremony, following a brief invocation by School Minister Rev. Bob Flanagan ’81.
Packard shared his memories of Kim, including a lesson in fundraising Kim gave him (something along the lines of “don’t take no for an answer”) and then also noted one of his favorite moments was when Chace told Packard, “I’m bullish about Brooks” at the start of Packard’s tenure as head of school.

“His support, his name, his affect on this institution won’t fade,” Packard told the crowd gathered in the front courtyard of the new dorm.

The two-story dormitory and attached faculty homes comprise 13,992 square feet across the street from PBA and perpendicular to Blake House. The $3.3 million project was completed in just 13 months.

The building was constructed with sustainability and durability in mind — not just in the form of those compositing toilets — but also with a gas-fired burner that is 97.5 percent efficient to reduce heating bills; a high-efficiency envelope with superior insulation to prevent energy loss and reduce electric bills, and low-flow water facilities to reduce sewage bills. Lights are solar powered and motion-sensing.

Julie Haley Saltonstall ’88, Kim Chace’s stepdaughter, spoke at Saturday’s dedication, noting that she spent her Brooks years very near the Chace House site, at Hettinger East dormitory.

“Dorm life leaves its marks on students, over pizza, during late nights studying,” Haley said. “It’s so fitting to have Kim’s name on a building that’s going to foster those relationships.”

Afterward, Julie shared more about her thoughts about Brooks and about her stepfather.

“We were both alumni of the school, so we had that shared commonality. He loved, loved, loved this place,” she said. “My Brooks time was really all about dorm life. I mean, I’m still best friends with the people I met in my dorm when I was a student here.” She also noted the importance of student-faculty relationships as part of dorm life.

Packard shared the school’s mission with the crowd: At Brooks School, we seek to provide the most meaningful educational experience our students will have in their lives. It was with mission in mind that Chace House was built, said Packard, and “we feel we’ve achieved that in great effect.”

Kim’s son Malcolm spoke of the lessons in philanthropy he learned from his father, noting that education and kids were at the top of Kim’s philanthropic list.

“He taught me to find something that inspires you and support it,” said Malcolm. “Over the last 40 years, my father’s support of Brooks was philanthropic, but, more importantly, through his time.” Kim had served on the board of trustees since 2004.

Kim’s wife, Liz, was impressed by the new dorm, and pleased that it will represent her husband’s legacy and affection for the school.

“Kim always loved Brooks, and to have him be part of Brooks in this way is very meaningful to me,” she said.

Through her philanthropic interests, Liz says she’s been involved in a lot of building projects and dorm construction, and she called Chace House “the epitome of today’s dorm design.”

“Students learn as much by interacting as they do from reading a book” she said, and Chace House is the perfect place for interactions — either in the common room, or in the numerous smaller seating areas designed as gathering spots.

And what’s her view on the individual student rooms? “Better than the Ritz!” she said.