2000-2010: A Decade In Review Past Decade Brings Many Changes to Andover

The first ten years of the new millennium ushered in various policy changes, intensive reconstruction projects and a technological revolution at Phillips Academy. POLICY CHANGES Andover introduced changes to diploma requirements as part of the 2004 Strategic Plan. Students entering in 2008 saw increased flexibility in fulfilling their Art and Music requirements, and Juniors enjoyed pass/fail courses in English and History for fall term. Brian Faulk ’00, Instructor in Chemistry, said, “The new flexibility helps meet kids at the level they’re comfortable with when they come to the school.” Seniors who entered as freshmen in 2006 still carry the old requirements for five terms of Art and Music and one term of Theater. Kimberly Kohn ’10 said, “I think [the new requirements] are a change for the better because they encourage students to take required classes, but in a less intense manner,” however, some alumni felt hesitant about relaxing the diploma requirements any further. Ethan Liebermann ’00 said, “I can understand movement on the fringes on relaxing requirements, but I would not want to see the school go too far in that direction because then we start to look like any other high school in the country.” In 2008, Andover instituted a need-blind admissions process, thereby separating an applicant’s financial background from his or her chances for admission. Jane Fried, Dean of Admissions, wrote in an email, “Need blind admissions creates community and maintains community. Families, both those who need financial aid and those who do not, are attracted to the school because of its extraordinary commitment to youth from every quarter.” Fried said that the need-blind initiative stemmed from a wish to “remove financial need as an obstacle to admission.” Liebermann said, “As an alum, my desire for Andover is to have the strongest students from all over the world. That is what is going to provide the most positive experience for students today.” “I can’t think of a better, more efficient way than the need-blind policy. The critics might say that it is not a financially responsible initiative. I would urge them to consider how blessed we are as a school to have the endowment that we do,” he continued. In another policy change, the library began to use proctors in 2007 to help maintain a quiet studying environment. Raya Stantcheva ’10 said, “A bunch of students started posting sarcastic signs around the library once the school began using proctors. People were really annoyed, but before proctors monitored studying, the library was really out of control.” RENOVATIONS The most visible changes of the decade are the campus renovations and reconstructed buildings. In 2004 the students and faculty welcomed a revamped Gelb Science Center, which replaced the old Evans Science Center. Evans was located on what is now Gelb Lawn. Tim Sprattler, Interim School Archivist and Assistant Director of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library, said, “[Building Gelb] meant the last of the late 1950s buildings that were architecturally popular at the time.” “Over the past decade the attempt has been made by the design and review committee to unify the architectural design of every building,” he continued. Liebermann said, “I don’t think that the physical plan changes really affect ones experience in super meaningful ways. I think it’s a nice thing to make sure you have the most up-to-date resources, but I frankly never walked into the science building when I was at Andover and thought, ‘This is a dump.’” “That being said, it’s great to see the school invest in science in such a meaningful way,” he continued. Chimes resounded across campus as the newly renovated Bell Tower, with a technologically advanced bell system, reopened in 2006. The Bell Tower had not been in use since 1989. Bell Tower renovations began in 2004. Taylor Clarke ’10 said, “During my Junior year the Bell Tower was under construction, so it didn’t ring for about half the year. When the chimes began, it was a big event for the community.” “I can’t imagine PA life without the continuous ringing that goes on at four o’ clock,” she continued. The renovation of Commons began in early 2008 and concluded in spring 2009. During renovations, students temporarily ate in Smith Sumner Hockey Rink, which was transformed into a new dining facility called Uncommons. Unlike the separate dining halls featured in Commons, Uncommons provided a one-room dining space. Sprattler said, “I think our short stint in Uncommons was fun. I know some people found it inconvenient to be way over behind the gym, but to me, it was interesting to get out of the old Commons. For the first time in a while, we ate in a different space, all of us eating together.” Mathew Kelley ’10 said, “I have been through old Commons, Uncommons, and new Paresky Commons, and it’s been very interesting living through the different phases of PA life. Out of the three, new Commons is the best.” TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS Many technological additions have been introduced throughout campus over the decade. Some developments include wireless Internet, electronic projectors and laptop ports. Like the rest of the world, Andover students have adopted new forms of technology as they have emerged over the decade. Electronic devices such as iPods, cell phones, and laptops have become commonplace, if not essential, on campus. Dan Scherwin ’00 said, “Ten years ago nobody ?had a cell phone, we barely had email, and all official school? business was conducted via voicemail.” Sprattler said the library has made many materials available to students online, including rare books and Kindles. He said online availability facilitated the educational process because they allow students to interact with many resources without potentially damaging the source. Faulk said, “For me the most important thing that I’ve taken from my years as a student and a teacher at Andover is the quality of teaching. The core has always been education, and I think that has stayed constant.”