by Luke Lee '20
Several weeks ago at an evening sit-down dinner, Mr. Warren announced that surveys would be distributed to each table in order to receive students’ feedback about their dorms. He explained that the school is working on a major construction plan to move West campus dormitories to Main Campus and that the architectural firm working with the school was gathering students’’ feedback to determine what would best meet the housing needs of students. In the survey, everyone wrote about the advantages and disadvantages of their dorms. Most students recognize this project will bring all underclassmen dormitories (West Campus) to Main Campus. But that is only a small portion of the project.
The four new dorms are planned to be built right next to Theriot House. Each dorm will house 33 beds. These dorms will be built as one large, square building, forming two quads in the middle. Mr. Kuklewicz, the school’s Chief Financial and Operations Officer, said that “the quads would be pretty big, but smaller than the Sixth Form Quad.” These quads would be used as places for students to hang out and enjoy the weather.
Another cool feature of this new building will be the study rooms. While some students choose to study in their rooms, others prefer studying in libraries or classrooms. However, walking all the way from their houses can often be inconvenient. Also, spots in study locations outside the dorms are not always available. In order to make students’ lives easier, the school will build plenty of study rooms in the middle row of the new building. These rooms will be sound proof and will resemble rooms in the second floor of the library.
The planned dormitories in the new buildings are much bigger than the present dormitories on West Campus. As a result, many fifth formers will be living in the new residential building as well. Even though currently all fifth formers live on dorms in Main Campus or Theriot unless they’re prefects, with the new construction, Sawyer will be relocated. This will allow for the History Wing and Language Wing to move spaces as well, which would be more convenient for many students and faculty. Many students, myself included, have experienced being late to history classes as we rush up to the History Wing’s current location on the fourth floor. By relocating Sawyer, the entire St. Mark’s community will benefit from better access to the classrooms of different departments.
The major reconstruction leaves many with one question: what is going to happen to West Campus? Mr. Kuklewicz admitted that the school “ [ hasn’t ] decided what to do with West yet. The Board is going to decide that.” The project is “only 2 months in the designing stage,” and the plan is to have about 12 to 14 months of both designing stage and construction stage. “That is when things go exactly as planned. It will probably take longer,” Mr. Kuklewicz noted.
Though many of us are excited for the changed to our community, Mr. Kuklewicz was sure to note, “You aren’t going to see the new building in your time at St. Mark’s for sure. ” Even though current students may not get to enjoy the end results, it is important for the administration that the current student body has a say in St. Mark’s future.