The incessant bang of hammers can be heard across the Upper Campus. Windows sit in carports awaiting their new homes and student conversations revolve around the construction. The Boney Bean dorm renovation is well underway.
The construction is going full speed ahead as we approach the Parent Weekend finish, and students wait impatiently for the unveiling of the finished product.
“It’s a step to improve the dormitories, which seem to be a problem when enrolling students,” said Boys’ Dorm Parent Craig Floyd. “It will definitely make a better living situation for the boys.”
Last year, Board of Trustee members Spencer Garrett and David Trudeau dedicated their labor to renovating two dorm rooms in models chosen by the students. The boys with the cleanest rooms were then chosen to live in the remodeled rooms and report on the pros and cons.
The school took this information and decided on which model room to use for the entire dorm. Now, the long-awaited construction is finally underway, with an expected end date of Parents Weekend on October 25.
Current residents of the boys’ dorm chose the model of the “test” room last year. They voted unanimously on one of the two configurations that placed the bunk beds above a desk area to create more space in the room.
“The Board has set as a priority remodeling the dorms, and David and I felt that it would be beneficial to have a model room so that prospective students and parents could see what the future held,” Spencer Garrett said in an interview last year. “David and I felt it would be helpful to build a test room to be sure the design was right and to have a better idea of the cost of remodeling a room. Hence, we volunteered to do the work and fund it.”
Garrett and Trudeau first renovated a room after the model chosen by the boys. In the model, both beds were suspended on one side of the room with desks underneath. Drawer space and individual closets lined the other side.
Later in the year a second room was renovated based on the design that hadn’t been chosen. Bunk beds and a desk lined one side of the room, while the second desk and closets occupied the other side.
The model rooms were a success. Based on the feedback from the boys who lived in the test rooms last year, the school has chosen the second model room as final design for the renovations.
Before the renovation, the rooms had desks on the left side, and bunk beds just inside the door. There were no cabinets, only a small closet shared by both residents of the room. There was little space to move around in.
The construction in Boney Bean will change the layout of the rooms to create more space.
Alumni John Olivo ’14 remembers the rooms as being small for two people, and that it was cold, cramped, and crowded.
“I like how it’s set up now, because it does make you feel like there’s more space to move around in there,” John said. “It’s long overdue.”
The renovations of the boys’ dorm rooms are just the beginning to a series of changes around the campus.
Future plans for the dorms include a separate outside bathroom facility, more storage space and new landscaping around the dorms.
Aside from improvements in the boys’ dorm, OVS also has plans for improvements in the girls’ dorm, improving pedestrian access at Lower and Upper Campus, and beautifying both campuses with new landscaping and lighting.
All renovations will also be in compliance with the newest ADA codes, allowing for easier handicapped access.
While the construction is taking place, the boys who would have lived in Boney Bean are living at Lower’s Frost Hall until the renovations are finished. The boys volunteered last year to live separately and be transported to Upper daily through day student transportation. The 12 boys are also transported to Upper on weekends.
As a reward, they will be the first to live in the freshly remodeled dorm.
“I volunteered to live at Lower because I wanted to experience something new, and I also wanted to help the school out while they make the change,” said student body president Masaki Takamatsu. “I have not seen the design of the three person room, so I’m looking forward to hopefully live in it.”