Dear Parents, Guardians, Faculty, Staff and Trustees,
I am writing to you as we head toward the end of what is looking like a historic summer at Dublin School. With the solar eclipse taking place this week I took a moment to reflect on historically significant events and realized that we are currently constructing more new buildings this summer than the number of buildings the school opened with in 1935. As we prepare to start school with our largest ninth grade class and largest student body ever I feel humbled by the work our faculty and staff are engaged in to get ready for your student’s arrival in less than two weeks. I wanted to take this time to share with you some of the programs and projects we have been working on over the summer.
While you might have seen our videos of the construction projects on my blog I do want to bring you up to date on and explain some of these projects. Our Board of Trustees, along with our faculty and staff, have been planning these projects for many years with the goal of creating a dynamic learning environment and a safe, energy efficient campus. We want our campus to inspire, comfort, and challenge our students. We want our buildings to be simple and elegant in the tradition of the Monadnock Region. We want our campus to work to bring us together in community while also encouraging our students and faculty to explore the out-of-doors.
The expansion of the Louise Shonk Recital Hall is our priority project of the summer for it is in this space that we begin our day as a full community. I know of few schools that set aside time to meet every day and these meetings take on particular importance as we discuss developments within our country and around the world. We have added beautiful windows to the space to bring nature into the building, a brand new dance floor, an expanded lobby, three new bathrooms, a redesigned entrance and additional seating. We hope to open the building before the end of September.
Four years ago I approached our Major Construction committee with an idea to create a new STEM building, bringing together our faculty from the Technology, Science and Math Departments into one space and to have them all share a single office. Not many schools can fit these departments into one office area, but we are uniquely poised to create a space that allows for conversation and collaboration as we develop innovative curricula for our students. We determined that switching the library building with the science laboratories would help us create new state of the art laboratories and a library that takes advantage of our stunning views to the east—all without significantly expanding our building footprint. We are calling the new space in the Evans Building the Programming, Robotics, Imagination, Science & Math Center or PRISM Center for short. We have added a “maker space” that will allow our students to build just about anything that they can imagine. Once we complete the PRISM Center in early winter we will begin turning the old science laboratories into the Michael and Mary Cornog Library. We hope to create a stunning space for students to work either alone or collaboratively while enjoying the extensive light and magnificent views. The Cornog Library will connect with the Shonk Recital Hall and the Griffin Learning Center to take full advantage of some of the best real-estate on our campus.
We continue to upgrade our living spaces with the goal of expanding and improving our faculty housing, creating more flexible living spaces for our students, and intentionally designing spaces that build community. The new “slopeside” dormitory, situated above Gillespie Hall and at the foot of the Norm Wight Ski Area, will have twenty-four beds and two faculty apartments with dramatic views of the campus and region. My favorite construction story of the summer centers around a problem we faced when we found out that we needed to purchase a $75,000 water pump for the dormitory since we did not have enough water pressure for the fire safety system. One of our trustees determined that if we spent $20,000 to move all of the dirt from our various excavations on campus to the top of the ski slope to raise the water tanks we could achieve the necessary water pressure. In the process we raised the ski slope thirty feet and lengthened it by one hundred and twenty feet, allowing our alpine skiers to add at least six gates to their slalom course! We plan to open the dormitory in January.
Because we built the dormitory on the site of the old outing club we are designing a new outing club that will be built right into the ski slope this fall and will house our mountain biking and snow sports teams. Speaking of mountain biking, one of our current parents decided to give up his annual vacation and bring his expert trail designer friend to campus, and they spent ten days designing and constructing the beginning of an amazing new mountain bike trail at the Nordic Center. Our hope is to minimize the impact of the construction process on our fall trimester and then thoroughly enjoy all the new spaces when they open this winter!
I had a great trip to Patagonia this summer as part of our Dublin School Español EE Ford Language Program. The trip proved to be a wonderful confirmation of our idea to have all of our students focus on learning one language. We hope to send teams, classes and individual students on trips to Spanish speaking countries so they can connect on a much deeper level than they might as traveling tourist groups. I met with people in the arts community in Frutillar, Chile and the skiing community in Bariloche, Argentina. Both groups were eager to have teams of Dublin students travel to their cities for exchange opportunities involving their own students. We are currently setting up an exchange for Bariloche where they will send students to Dublin in February, and we will send students to them in August. These exchanges will be offered in addition to trips we are currently organizing for Cuba and India in March of 2018. We will continue to update the community on the details of these trips as we firm up our plans.
We are happy to welcome five new members to our staff for this school year. Jenner McLeod just graduated from Kenyon College and has joined our Admission Office and is living in Wing and Hollow. Chris Speers has been working in the political world since graduating from Bates College and has joined our Alumni and Development Office. He will be coaching soccer this fall and living with his fiancé Rosy Gonzalez in the Monadnock Dormitory. Malcom Groves just graduated from Bowdoin College and will be teaching Chemistry, coaching, and living in Monadnock. Current Parent Tom Tullio has moved from his job at Franklin Pierce University to teach in our Technology Department and help with the Robotics Team. Jennifer Cray, our new Athletic Trainer, comes to us after graduating from Gettysburg College and working at Brown University. She will be living upstairs in Little House. I have enjoyed spending some time with this eager and positive group of educators this summer and look forward to introducing them to all of you soon.
I look forward to welcoming our 164 students and their families to campus on Opening Day. We have a record ninth grade class of 40 students as a result of a record breaking 65% yield of our accepted students. We want to give a special welcome to the 14% of our students traveling from 11 countries outside of the United States to attend Dublin (The Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Germany, South Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates). We are proud of the fact that Dublin School welcomes students from a diversity of backgrounds and we strongly believe that a significant part of a boarding school education comes from living with people who live and think differently from ourselves. It is important that every student feel safe, respected and empowered at Dublin and that we launch them from here confident in who they are.
In conclusion, I would like to quote from Dublin School’s founder, Paul W. Lehmann, who wrote in his history of the School that, “I suppose the fondest wish any man or woman can have is to live his life usefully for the benefit of his fellow man or woman.” We are living in turbulent times, and the relevance of Mr. Lehmann’s wishes for his life’s work and for our own could not be more important. The culture of our School celebrates “builders” and we challenge everyone to build lives, families, careers, and communities that will allow people to live rewarding lives while making the world a better place for their fellow man and woman. On behalf of the faculty, staff, and trustees, I welcome you to the 2017-18 school year and can’t wait to see the campus full again this fall!
Head of School