Construction of Girls' Dormitory to Begin

 

On January 27, Bement's Board of Trustees cast a unanimous vote to break ground this spring on a new girls' dormitory. The building will join the site of the boys' new dorm, Blydenburgh and Jiayi Houses, and will complete our vision to have boarding life centralized on our North End Campus. Other notable features of this step include the following:

The two-story structure housing 20 girls will replace Barton and Wright Houses as dormitories. Each of the dorm's two floors will function as a separate house. Faculty apartments will be located at each end of the hallway and will preserve our commitment to a dorm parent: student ratio of 1:10.

Faculty apartments will be either one- or three-bedroom units, which will dramatically increase our ability to hire dorm parents at various stages in their professional and personal lives.

Each floor will have a centrally located common room and kitchen, allowing us to continue our tradition of group activities, cooking skills, and sharing food together.

Common rooms and faculty apartments will be arranged to facilitate the kind of supervision necessary in junior boarding schools.

The dorm will be engineered to reflect latest research in energy efficiency. Operating costs will be dramatically reduced. Like Blydenburgh and Jiayi Houses, our new dorm will serve as a model to schools eager to contribute to a more sustainable environment.

The dorm will dramatically improve our ability to meet safety codes and regulations.

We hope you share our enthusiasm for what's next and welcome any questions you may have. If you would like to support this historic step for Bement, please contact Diana Stiles, Director of Development, for additional information.

She can be reached at dstiles@bement.org or (413) 374-3021.

 

UPDATE:

This first week of spring term ended like no other. Under blue skies and brilliant sunshine, 300 of us did what two-thirds of our boarders do every day: walked north on Main Street past blooming forsythia, past the lambs bleating in the pasture across the street, around the bend, and to the site of the girls' new dormitory. Head of School Shelley Jackson welcomed the school and guests, acknowledging that for many of our younger day students, this was likely the first time they had been on that part of the campus. She invited them to "take a good look and see where 40 of us have a home-away-from home" and imagined that "girls will live in this new dorm for decades, maybe well past 100 years, if this building serves us as well as Barton and Wright Houses have." As she explained the order of groundbreaking, she encouraged each student to "think a good thought for all the future girls who will call this home." Architects, contractors, and Board of Trustee President Frank Henry first introduced themselves to the students and explained their role in the project. The next round of special guests were our female boarders, their dorm parents, and Dean of Boarding Dave Belcher, who each overturned the soil. After that, each grade came to the digging site-- accompanied by a fanfare offered by fourth grade trumpeters--and with spoons borrowed from the dining hall, contributed a symbolic gesture. The ceremony concluded with a shovel-shaped cookie and a walk back to the main campus for Friday pickup.

One of the last to leave the site, Jonathan Wright, co-owner of the construction company which built Jiayi House, Blydenburgh House, and now the girls' new dorm, pulled Shelley aside to say, "This was far more than symbolic. It's important for us to see these kids, to see who will live in this structure. This is a special building we're constructing."

 

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