The Center for the Arts hasn't been the only building under construction this summer.
One of the older dorms on campus, Whitney House, has undergone an extensive renovation to create new common areas and replace aged bathroom facilities for the 24 boys who will call the place home when school starts in September.
"It's a major upgrade to this building," said Associate Head for Student Affairs and Mathematics Teacher Andrea Heinze.
And it's been no small undertaking. Since June, construction crews have been busy gutting and remodeling. Space that was formerly a single room has been reclaimed and used to expand the size of the first-floor bathroom, while the upstairs bathroom is also getting a facelift.
Area outside of the building's former footprint on the first floor, and space that used to be two rooms (a double and a single), has been reimagined as two common areas with TVs — one of which will also include a kitchenette.
"Along with all new lighting and flooring, we will dramatically improve the size and quality of the building's common and bathroom space," Head of School John Packard wrote in a recent e-letter to parents. The project will "substantially improve the experience for all living there."
Read all of John Packard's letters to parents on the Head of School's Welcome page.
The Athletic Center was the site of a construction project this summer, too. Crews built a new changing area and bathroom facility to better equip the school to support transgender students and visitors getting dressed for athletic events. Packard called the project an important step that will "ensure that both access to and use of our facilities are equitable for all community members and guests."
Whitney House's renovations were also begun with students' needs in mind. Previously, the building had no gathering space outside of dorm rooms, nor structural renovations. "Ideally we would like to have every dorm offer a gathering space for residents of the building," said Heinze. So, creating community space became a goal for the dorm, which consists of mostly single rooms.
"We hope students living in Whitney will come out of their rooms, interact, and get to know their classmates and the people they live with better," she added.
Living at Brooks: Learn more about how students from all over the United States, and the world, come together as one community.
Common space also helps foster community moments that wouldn't otherwise be possible. "We want students to be able to have a dorm meeting or a party, or to sit and talk with a faculty member on duty, out of his room in a shared space," explained Heinze. "This is a home away from home. We want students to have a common room like a living room and enjoy their downtime together."
The new Whitney "will have much more of a homey, community feel," she said. "And I think the students are going to love it!"
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