Second East First of Major Dorm Renovations

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Sean Bunting ’19 relaxes in his newly-renovated dorm room on Second East.

Northwood School students are privileged to have a great environment to study; however, as the years pass, some parts of this environment inevitably become outdated. I interviewed Assistant Headmaster Tom “Brody” Broderick to learn more about the major renovations on the Second East boys residence hall, as well as future plans for renovations.

Northwood’s boys dormitories were last renovated twenty years ago, so they are very 90s-looking, or like Brody describes it, “It’s dated.” The current renovation will allow Northwood to attract the type of student the school wants. By giving the school a more modern feel it allows for more interest from applicants who visit the school. Brody said the purpose of the renovations is “to provide a cleaner and more modern living space that aesthetically fits the school.”

Renovation is set to be done in two phases, the first one is well underway. The construction started on Second East on January 3rd, and the renovation of that hall is expected to be finished on March 26th. A sneak peek of the the final product can already be seen on the hallways of Second East. The green paint and carpet has been replaced by a lighter, wooden tone. Along with new paint and the carpets, all of the lighting is being changed from harsh, fluorescent fixtures to energy-efficient recessed LED fixtures that provide softer lighting. Broderick says the new lighting fixtures will enable lights to be dimmed at night.

Because construction is taking place while school is in session, students have been relocated to temporary rooms, a few at a time, as their rooms are renovated.

One of the more significant changes in each room is going to be the wooden floors. Not only they will bring a new look for the room, but they will also be easier to maintain. Spills and other messes will be easier to clean, keeping the room fresh and new longer. Some students expressed concern that a wood floor will be colder than carpet, but Brody doesn’t think it is going to be a problem and added, “you can bring your own [area rugs]; you can make it more of your own place.” In addition to the new floors in rooms, brand new energy-efficient windows, heaters, and LED light fixtures will be added to each student room. Not only will these changes modernize the rooms, but they will also provide a more cost beneficial option, as they save a lot more energy in the long run than the old ones.

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This hallway on Second East was completed during February break.

Further renovation is going to occur with hall bathrooms getting a new “timeless” look with new sinks, stainless steel shower dividers, and tile floor. Second East’s bathroom was renovated during the summer of 2017.

The student lounges on each hall are also going to be upgraded with new furniture and a smart TV to watch movies and stream TV shows. Brody described this renovation as, “trying to make those spaces more living spaces.”

Phase Two will begin during Spring Break and continue until the start of the next school year. During Phase Two, all other residence halls in the main building, including three of the five bathrooms, will be renovated in the same style as Second East. The final two bathrooms are scheduled to be renovated during the summer of 2019. However, Brody wanted to add that, “the schedule is still to be worked on, “as plans may change during the different activities Northwood School hosts over the course of the summer.” One of these activities is the CAN/AM hockey camp.

Broderick says the renovations are being funded with money raised with the help of a matching fund up to $500,000 from an anonymous donor.

Will Arquiett is a sophomore whose room on Second East is being renovated. He had to move to a new room during the renovation. I asked Will how it felt to move out of his room. “I moved in with a really good buddy of mine, Patty [Patrick Callahan ‘18],” he said. “We had a really good time for a couple of weeks.” Now Will lives alone while his room is finished, because Callahan has moved back to his newly-renovated room. Will waits patiently for his room to be finished and is sure that his new room will meet his expectations.

I also spoke with Sean Bunting, a sophomore who has moved back to his newly-renovated room. I asked Sean how it feels to have a new room. “It feels great. I feel very privileged to have this whole new space and to be a part of a whole new opportunity.” How does his new room compare to the old one? “It’s way better, I think it’s more neat with the new floor and better lighting, which helps me to get stuff done better.” And the floors? “No they aren’t cold.”

Mr. Broderick stressed the how invaluable the team of staff and members of the Board of Trustees have been to the dorm renovations, especially: Mr. Maher, Head of School; Katrina Kroes, Trustee; Jennifer Webb, Trustee; John Taylor, Trustee; Joey Burnah, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds; Teresa Brady, Chief Financial Officer; and former Trustee Diane Scholl.

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