This summer, construction began on Haines-Hobson Commons, a renovation and expansion that will link Concord Academy’s Haines and Hobson student houses. When completed, this project will culminate the CA Houses campus improvement initiative that has been a priority of the Centennial Campaign for Concord Academy. The work completed on four of CA’s six student houses this summer and now begun in Haines and Hobson will benefit not only CA’s residential life program but also CA’s culture and community as a whole in lasting ways.
The campus-facing Haines-Hobson Commons will invite participation from the entire student body. This dividable, multipurpose common room will have a kitchen and space to accommodate the entire residential population of both houses for both formal events and informal living. With limited impact to existing structures, the addition will also create two much-needed additional faculty apartments suitable for housing families and increase the capacity of two existing house parent apartments.
Construction begun last year in Bradford House — creating a new accessible common room facing the quad and new faculty apartments — concluded this August. Adding that space allowed simultaneous renovations over the summer to reapportion student rooms and triple the size of the common rooms in Phelps, Wheeler, and Admadjaja. All of these common rooms have also been newly furnished. When Haines-Hobson Commons is finished in time for the 2019-20 school year, all of CA’s student houses will have common rooms with kitchens that are able to sustain CA’s thriving Residential Life program and provide flexible meeting space for student groups. The full set of floor plans can be viewed here.
Haines-Hobson Commons will complete the final phase of CA Houses renovations — reconfigurations and additions that are balancing the number of students per house, optimizing the scale and location of common rooms to accommodate all-house meetings, improving accessibility to the first floor of existing houses, and increasing the number of apartments on campus necessary to retaining CA’s outstanding faculty.
Concord Academy’s Colonial-era residential houses are the physical foundation for this school’s unique living and learning community. Following a thorough space utilization planning process, CA’s Board of Trustees approved the CA Houses plan including the renovations to Bradford House, the other common rooms, and Haines-Hobson Commons in October 2017. The CA Houses projects completed to date have been finished on or ahead of time and below budget.
The funding for these CA Houses improvements, as a part of the broader set of Centennial Campaign initiatives, was provided entirely by philanthropic support from the CA community, including contributions establishing endowed funds to maintain the buildings. Thanks to that generosity, CA is meeting pressing needs for space on campus and is poised to enter its second century strengthened and emboldened.
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As I write to you today, our world is still grappling with the great challenges that COVID-19 has created. Indeed, the situation in many places has unfortunately grown considerably worse since my last letter. I offer my sincere condolences to those of you who have suffered illness or lost loved ones to this pandemic. This disease has caused extraordinary pain, stress, and dismay on so many levels. We must all find ways to focus on hope and the prospects of the recovery that will come, and the opportunities that any crisis presents to assert our powers of caring and goodness. We hope you are leaning on and helping those around you.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic prevented Concord Academy alumnae/i from returning to campus, it did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm for reconnecting with classmates, faculty and staff, and fellow CA graduates as part of the school’s first Virtual Reunion. More than 225 alumnae/i joined via videoconference as CA hosted three special reunion programs, the annual Alumnae/i Association Assembly, and 13 virtual class gatherings for reunion classes over four days in early June.
Commencement 2020: Virtual Ceremony Recognizes Real Achievement, and Speaker Ambassador Samantha Power Offers a Simple Suggestion for Individual Action
In Concord Academy’s 98th year, Commencement didn’t exactly resemble the annual ceremony we’re accustomed to. The Covid-19 pandemic may have kept the 98 honorees from physically attending the ceremony, but their presence was felt. A mixture of prerecorded video and live remarks and student recognition for diplomas allowed CA to preserve many of the hallmarks that distinguish the school’s graduation ceremony. And Ambassador Samantha Power, by livestream, offered words of wisdom for the class of 2020.