BLAIR – In 1886, 38 years after Blair’s founding, East Hall was constructed as a gymnasium and, until 1911, retained that purpose. Davies hall, not yet named so, was built in 1900 to house the school’s swimming pool. Eleven years later, both buildings were converted into dormitories. At the time, Blair was still a boys’ school, and when the third floor of East Hall was added, the dorm housed the entire senior class. Since then, of course, generations of Blair’s boys have lived in East and Davies, the last of which graduated after the 2014-2015 school year.
When returning to campus this spring, students no doubt noticed that both buildings have been mostly demolished, construction vehicles still dredging through the rubble of the foundations. After weeks of asbestos removal in February and early March, both buildings were demolished to make room for the new Center for Innovation and Collaboration, a building designed to give the fine arts department room to expand and to bring technology and arts together in a formerly residential area of campus. The health center lawn being a favorite in the spring for students’ frisbee games, they will soon be overlooked by a new building adorned with beautiful modern windows and features, yet, somehow, still holding true to Blair’s Richardson Romanesque architectural style and to the legacy of East and Davies.
“It was a great dorm. It was a great community and a good bonding experience; with me being a new sophomore, it was really welcoming and a great place to be,” says Reo Aono ‘17, who lived in East last year. Later, Max Bonzulak ‘17 added that “Davies was the dorm you didn’t know you wished you lived in. It was a place of activities, academics, and altruism. Generations of students have made some of their best memories in that dorm, myself included.” Jack Saxton ’17, also a resident of East Hall had the final word, saying “East hall was a place where people from the most different of backgrounds were able to become great companions. Great times were had in East, and that was due to the residing students’ abilities to dig deep into their neighbors’ personalities.”
Now that the two beloved dorms are gone, it is still to be seen how students react to the new building in the coming years. Its well known that many juniors love the experience of living in Lakeside and Kathryn; hopefully the Center for Innovation and Collaboration will add that same type of liveliness to our most modern part of campus.
(Copyright 2016 Tys Sweeney)