School started up again on August 24th, and upper classmen and faculty are noticing changes on campus. First and foremost, there now is air-conditioning in the West Wing. (Yes, you read that correctly, alumni!)
In fact, the entire wing has been remodeled, including new, energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lighting in all the classrooms up there and a fresh coat of paint. “This is probably the first time in 20 years or so that that area has been painted,” reports Operations Director Jerry Ruffino. There is new, two-toned paint on the walls in the library stairwell and the Friar Shop ramp area as well – gloss below shoulder level, to withstand backpack abuse, and matte finish above.
There is a new look and feel to the John Gearen Library, with the Library Visionary Collaboration Room now complete. The new space transforms approximately one-third of the 5,300-square-foot library into a user-friendly, digital-learning resource center. “Our idea was to take unused space, i.e. reference material, and make it useable study/collaboration/class/meeting space,” explains Instructional Technology Coordinator Bryan Boehm, who shared the vision with Librarian Elizabeth McKinley. “The main part of the library was hitting its max with students, and we had some doing quiet study and others working on group projects. With this [new] space, kids can collaborate with each other; faculty can hold multimedia classes or meetings, and the space becomes useable for anything at any time.”
Chapel, Lockers, Showers
The totally renovated chapel is looking brighter than ever with its refurbished stained-glass windows. Pews and floors were refinished, and walls have been repainted. Both gymnasium floors also were varnished, which has become a summertime ritual.
Lockers on the ground floor of the main building have been replaced and are shining like, well, new. The boys’ locker-room showers also have been remodeled, featuring magnetic-adhered paint and water-saving, timed faucets.
Faculty and staff will notice a remodeled Copy Room as well as Room 310-P up in the Priory, which was repainted and renovated.
And out at the Priory Field in River Forest, the new, all-weather turf is ready for fast-paced Friars’ soccer, lacrosse and maybe even some rugby action! The official dedication is set for this Thursday, September 7th, at 4:00 p.m. prior to our boys’ soccer game vs. the Providence Celtics.
Kudos to Mr. Ruffino and his entire staff, including student workers over the summer and various outside contractors, for getting our 87-year-old building in great shape for the 2017-18 school year! And thanks to all those who donate their hard-earned money to Fenwick to make projects like these possible. You are appreciated!