Campus Upgrades — Summer 2022
Every summer, the school’s first-rate facilities department takes advantage of a quiet campus to make necessary repairs and improvements.
This year has been no exception, with upgrades taking place all over, from the top of the Diogenes roof to the underground tunnels that house the school’s electrical systems and other utilities.
Avon Old Farms Founder Theodate Pope Riddle was wise enough to install these tunnels long before underground wiring was a mainstream practice. Being nearly 100 years old, however, the tunnels were in need of repair.
Director of Facilities Glenn Wilcox said work was needed to improve drainage and prevent water damage to the tunnels. He said the tunnel repairs have been a four-year project that will be completed by the end of the summer.
“It will all be completed, and nobody will know any work was done because it’s all underground,” Wilcox said.
Another four-year project that will be wrapping up by the end of the summer is the replacement of all dormitory windows in the Quad. The windows in Diogenes, Pelican, and Eagle dormitories had been replaced prior to this year, with only Elephant needing to be completed this summer.
While multiple four-year projects are finishing up this year, another is just beginning. Full upgrades of the dormitory buildings began this summer with the Diogenes Dormitory. The dorm rooms, bathrooms, and first-floor classrooms are all receiving upgrades as part of this project, as well as a full roof replacement.
“They’re old. It was just time for a significant upgrade to make them more appealing and more functional,” Wilcox said. “The dorms will still have that Old Farms feel, but will give the boys more space in their rooms.”
Diogenes will be completed before students return to campus in the fall, with the next three dormitories set to be completed over the next few years.
Other projects around campus include a replacement of the heating and air conditioning units in the Refectory to a more energy-efficient model, and a rearrangement of the Wachter Post Office.
“We modified the mail room to better fit today’s environment,” Wilcox said.
When the mail room was originally designed, paper mail was much more popular than packages, but that has reversed in recent years, Wilcox explained.
The size of the school store, commonly known as the Hawk’s Nest, will be increased this summer as well.
“That’s being done so the school store can better serve the students,” Wilcox said.
Manager of the school store Lara Doyle P ’12,’14, said she is very excited about the expansion.
“We currently have very little area to display our clothing and gift items, and now we will be able to have permanent displays for all of the things we carry,” Doyle explained. “I know that our students and families will be very happy to have more access to these items.”
There are many projects this summer that involve the school’s athletics facilities.
Major mechanical repairs and preventative maintenance are underway at the Jennings-Fairchild Arena, which houses the famous John T. Gardner ice hockey rink. That work will be wrapped up before the end of July.
The most substantial upgrades this summer are taking place on Ryan Field and the Gregg Linburg '87 Memorial Track that surrounds it.
A new and improved scoreboard will be installed to accompany the new field.
The track surrounding the field, which is utilized by the school’s track and field athletes, is also being replaced.
Outdoor stadium lighting will be installed surrounding the field, and along the pathway to the field from campus.
“It’s going to look phenomenal when it’s done,” Wilcox said.
The nine Globe Tennis Foundation Tennis Courts are also being replaced with brand new courts. The existing courts have developed cracks and other evidence of wear and tear from use over the years.
Wilcox indicated that the tennis project would be the only one that might not be completed before students return.
“That one’s weather dependent,” Wilcox said.
So for anyone that plans on visiting the campus this summer, be prepared for a few potential detours or construction noises. It’s all an effort to maintain the beauty and high-quality infrastructure that Avon Old Farms has been known for since its founding.