West Opens Its Doors: Six Months of Construction Come to a Close

After half a year of renovation, the southern wing of the former Isham Medical Center has been converted into a spacious girls dorm, known simply as West.

The dorm houses 29 girls ranging from Lowers to Seniors. Perpendicularly attached to Isham Dorm, West consists primarily of single rooms and two double rooms.

Eliza Bienstock ’18 was one of the few students placed into West through Andover’s annual housing lottery.

“The rooms are really nice. It’s all very clean. There’s a handicap shower which is really nice. There’s an upstairs common room which has giant glass windows. There are also little study spaces with each pod” said Bienstock.

In addition to the interior, the exterior of the building received modifications as well. Lining the entrance, new paving stones are surrounded by a fresh layer of green sod. Bright sunlight illuminates the large double-layered roof of the building as it slopes downward, merging into the classic red brick finish characteristic of many dorms on campus. New copper gutters outline the corners of the building on all sides. At the end of the wing, nearest the softball field, a white sun room fitted with dozens of tiny windows complements the warmer exterior across the rest of the building.

Heidi Wall, Instructor in Mathematics and resident house counselor in West said, “We are very happy to be living in West this year and so glad that the girls have a beautiful new space in which to live and work. It is very cheery and bright, with good sunlight and bright, happy colors.”

Wall continued, “Some of the best features of the new dorm are the sitting areas on the first and second floor where the girls can study or hang out. White boards allow the girls to work collaboratively on homework problems or leave fun notes for each other. There are even mini-fridges for the convenience of the girls as well.”

As a new dorm, this will be the first year that any students will be experiencing the space. Bienstock is grateful to have been placed in West.

“It’s a new dorm so I think our proctors and prefects and house counselors are working really hard to try to set a good atmosphere because this group hasn’t been together yet. It’s kind of a new group of people. But everyone’s making a big effort to be nice and respectful and I think it will be a really fun year. I feel very lucky,” said Bienstock.

Resident in West, Karolina Buchajska ’18, wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “The dorm is absolutely beautiful. The study spaces and common rooms are not only warm, but everything and everyone makes you feel welcome. All the house counselors are very caring and are always there if you need them. The proctors and prefects are nothing but supportive and radiating with kindness. I definitely think it was worth the move. All the girls are incredibly nice and thoughtful.”

West will not be the only dorm to receive a touch-up. Many of the girls now residing in the dorm originally lived in Bancroft, another girls’ dorm located in West Quad North that is scheduled for renovation later this year.