Change is a-foot in the West Dorm

Posted By Carrie Anderson
June 28, 2017

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    Dick Stronach built the West Dorm's massive fireplace back in 1987.

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    The new great room will extend to the borders of the former outdoor deck.

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    A dorm without walls!

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    The fireplace serves as an anchor to the past as we rebuild for the future.

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    This pile of demolition lumber destined for re-use.

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    Chalking in lines for the new rooms.

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    As much demolition material as possible is being gathered for re-use and recycling.


I’ve often thought of the West Dorm as a “home away from home.” School kids move in on Mondays ready to make the place their own. They haul their sleeping bags and clothes off the bus and up into their rooms, thrilled to be on this grand adventure north. Summer campers gather around the fireplace to play board games as they wait for darkness to settle in and stars to come out. In fall’s morning glow, eagles and ravens soar by the great room windows. A parent-chaperone relaxes on the window seat reading a novel during a mid-winter afternoon break.


The West Dorm is a place with heart – the kind of place memories are built.


Even so, I and others up here are excited to see the old interior walls coming down, making space for the new. Betsey imagines the cozy sitting areas that will allow smaller schools to have private gathering places. Teachers look forward to the ease of grouping students into new rooms with in-room bathrooms and showers, similar to the current East Dorm rooms. The new spaces will be perfect for making lifelong friendships during Summer Family Camp.


And through it all, that iconic fireplace will still be there.


As you look at these photos, I invite you ┬áto imagine this coming winter with me: Kids will still get off the bus in a rush to see their home away from home. The fireplace will still be a central gathering spot. The sun will pour in through the windows on an expanded great room…. There will be much to love about the new Margaret A. Cargill Lodge. The journey to make the dream a reality has begun!