Dreams of a bigger Ryley Room and a brand-new student center are on their way to becoming reality as the Commons Program Planning Committee met for the first time on Monday to discuss the imminent renovation of the decades-old dining hall. The initial meeting brought members of the committee, chaired by Flagstaff Cluster Dean and Instructor in Mathematics Paul Murphy, together to begin the long discussion about the needs a renovated Commons should meet. Mr. Murphy said, “We have a rare opportunity to critique, celebrate and dream about Commons.” “Food is central to any community, and it is my hope that we can expand the role of this facility to bring this community closer,” he added. The Committee has been charged with answering many questions about the current state and fate of Commons, focusing on how to create an environment that bridges the gap between students and faculty. At the top of the list of necessary renovation projects is the Ryley Room. The group has already agreed that the center, as it exists now, is too small to meet the school’s needs. Whether this problem will be solved by expanding Ryley or by building a new student center remains to be seen. To generate ideas for the improvement of Commons, committee members plan to look at other boarding schools and colleges to observe their student social center arrangements. In addition to Ryley, there are many other important issues to consider, including the benefits of adding more rooms or the advantage of combining dining areas to produce a larger eating area. Commons is a central part of the Andover community, thus input from all members of the Andover community will be an important part of the process. The Committee hopes to put together a survey for release next fall, allowiang all voices the opportunity to be heard. As Mr. Murphy said, “[Faculty, staff, students, and families] work hard here to produce a community worthy of celebration. Making Commons a more vibrant and efficient catalyst would serve us all well.” President-Elect Daniel Adler ’05, who has already helped to bring about small changes at Commons, said, “I’m really excited to work on the commons planning committee.” He continued, “I’ve been talking to lots of students and hope that we can incorporate their ideas in the renovation of Commons Adler and Vice President-Elect Morissa Sobelson ’05 represent the student body on the committee, with West Quad North Cluster Dean Kathy Birecki, Academy Steward David Chase, Director of Student Activities Cindy Efinger, Advisor to Asian and Asian-American Students Aya Murata, Food Service Director Bob Noyes, Instructor in English Craig Thorn, Dean of Students Marlys Edwards, Director of Facilities Michael Williams and Capital Project Manager John Galanis representing the faculty and staff. The first official meeting will be held on Monday, May 24th. Mr. Murphy said, “These first few meetings will be dedicated to figuring out the process and to discuss exactly what we want to study over the next six months.” Send suggestions fora the Commons Renovation to firstname.lastname@example.org or to CommonsPlanning@andover.edu
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