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KENT Marvelwood School renovated and ready

September 6, 2018 GMT

KENT — The buildings at the top of Skiff Mountain were largely untouched for 50 years, even after Marvelwood School moved in about 20 years ago.

But that changed this summer with the completion of a $2 million project that completely renovated the dorms, several common rooms and a science lab. The public will be able to see the work at an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday.

“It’s been a long time since we had any construction tape up here,” said Assistant Head of School Caitlin Lynch.

Marvelwood has 140 students. Of these, 20 are day students, although all students get a dorm room.

“That helps build a sense of community,” said Michael Gabriel Deveau, the project manager.

The project made the buildings more modern, brighter and eco-friendly. It was paid for with a loan that was incorporated into the school’s mortgage.

“This whole campaign for the students is going to change the lives of our students because this is their home away from home,” he said.

The environmentally friendly renovations in the dorms included adding electric hand dryers in the bathrooms, water fountains to replace plastic bottles and energy efficient laundry facilities. LED lighting was also installed with the new electrical systems, which are expected to save about 40 percent in electricity. The school plans to look at solar power soon.

“It’s all about the carbon footprint and being eco-friendly going forward,” Deveau said.

The dormitories also had new ceilings, doors and carpets added. The two larger common rooms, which have balconies that overlook the fields and lake, changed the fireplaces by adding a new stone around the old red brick to add a cozier, modern feel. The smaller common rooms have special lights added into the wall that can be changed to any color. Privacy stalls were also added in the remodeled bathrooms.

Each dorm has its own color scheme that plays off of the schools’ colors of blue and white.

Kitchenetts were put in the dorm hallways and all of the fire exits and codes were updated.

The landscaping was also redone and flower boxes, donated by the parents group, were added.

The project also included adding an imaging and innovation lab off the renovated science lab, that allows for more tools to expand its offerings for science, technology and arts. These include a 3-D printer, laser engraver, a weather station, photography tools, drones and bioacoustical program, which the school is using to identify bird species.

“It’s designed to be more modern,” said Laurie Doss, the science department chair.

The science lab renovation also allows for more collaboration with tables that allow for different configurations.

Marvelwood was founded in 1956. It started in the village of Cornwall, using homes as dorms and classrooms and a barn as the dining hall.

“It was a really cool atmosphere but we quickly outgrew it,” Lynch said,

In 1995, the school moved to its current campus, which was built by Kent School to house the female students when it went co-ed. Kent School left the space though and decided to just build another dormitory for the female students to eliminate the need for busing the girls to their classes on the main campus at the base of the hill.

The campus sat vacant for about eight years before Marvelwood moved in and spruced it up.

Lynch remembers what the campus looked like when they first moved in, describing it as a “dilapidated ghost town.” She said they did some work but not the full renovation they did now.

“To do everything at once was such a gift,” she said, adding the next project will be renovating the performing arts center.

kkoerting@newstimes.com; 203-731-3345