The Arms building will undergo renovation in the coming months to make use of the space left vacant when the student mailroom was moved last summer to the new Greer Store complex.
Though the exact specifications are still undecided, the space will be devoted to the English department. New classrooms will be added, and there may also be a reading lounge or a screening room. The renovation will also edge out the day student lounge.
“For the past few years we have worked to bring the department under one roof,” said department chair Mark Ott. “I’m very excited that the board is willing to fund this project.”
“[The English teachers] want to use the space effectively and creatively,” said English teacher Mark Scandling. “We have to figure out how to assure that the quality of the area will be similar to that of the upstairs classrooms despite their being in a basement.”
English teacher Michael Schloat also desires careful planning in this enterprise.
“We have a chance to create a new pattern of traffic in the English department,” he said. “I’d rather have a shared space—a reading room, a screening room, maybe even a performance area—and a few large classrooms than a greater number of smaller classrooms.”
Students (both day and boarding) and teachers were concerned by the removal of the DSL.
“I hope that, in all things, day students continue to receive ample consideration as stakeholders in any decision affecting the student body,” said Mr. Schloat.
“The DSL is a place for us to hang out, do work,” said Thomas Shuman ’13. “It is also more private than the Memorial Building lobby, which makes it a refuge from the rest of the school comparable to a dorm.”
However, thanks to the persistence of Shuman and other students, there are plans for a new DSL in the basement of the Kendall Classroom Building.
As always, there is a budget to work around. “We have to think about the possibilities but also live within the practicalities,” said Mr. Scandling.