Johnston D renovations bring comforts of home

The residents of Johnston D (JHD) are living in renovated quarters this year and enjoying their new luxuries, including an improved lounge, movable furniture, updated bathrooms and kitchens, and new lightings and flooring.

Dana Hall launched the Johnston renovation project in summer of 2016, supported by alumnae and parents. Johnston D, geographically the lowest dorm out of Johnstons, has been the first to be renovated. The ten-week renovation, which began June 6, cost an estimated 2.5 million dollars for students’ rooms, lounges, kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor space.

According to Ms. Donna Corrigan, the international student advisor, the goal of the JHD renovation was to enable students to call the Johnstons “home.” She says that the renovation was prompted by the “conclusion that boarding students should be provided with the best living condition, along with Dana Hall’s high valuation of the spirit of boarding life.” Dana Hall conducted a survey before the renovation and reflected the boarders’ strong demands, such as remodelling bathrooms in the project.

The previously rug-covered floors have been replaced with wooden flooring, and the walls have been covered with new wallpaper. Fah Keerasuntonpong ’19, a resident of JHD, comments, “The brand-new furniture is not stiff or weak anymore compared to earlier furniture.” White desks, for example, are equipped with their own individual LED lamps to improve the educational environment. Even the new incandescent lamps in each room, different from previous yellow fluorescent lamps, are located in the ceiling, illuminating the entire rooms. “I feel more comfortable with the new beds and the renewal of the dressing rooms, which is one of my favorite [parts of the renovation],” said Keerasuntonpong.

“Dana Hall especially focused on bathroom renewal as students strongly demanded,” said Mrs. Corrigan. Keerasuntonpong approves, noting that “the bathrooms have improved greatly compared to last year because they look much cleaner and organized with modern decorations.” Wendy Gomez ’17, a student proctor in JHD, believes such renovation “is an update [students] really needed” because JHD had severe water damage last year.

Mrs. Corrigan also praised the renovated common area of JHD, saying that the new, modern lounge not only attracts people’s eyes but also provides comfortable space for students. The changes include new art on the walls, colorful couches, and new lamps.

Ashley Davis, the JHD house assistant, is pleased that the new common area helps accomplish her goal of having JHD be a caring community with more communication. For instance, by offering an organized and welcoming lounge area with Apple TV, students can interact with each other easily as they discuss or watch movies together. Plus, she thinks that the nicer atmosphere will motivate students to keep the dorm neat so that such conditions will remain.

Dana Hall is planning to collect student feedback to apply to the next renovation of the Johnstons. In a Hallmanac survey of current boarding students last month, most boarders expressed moderate satisfaction in their own dorms. More than 80% of the boarders, except those in Johnston D, requested the renewal of bathrooms and toilets; 70% prioritized furniture, floorings, and shower stalls; and 60% requested better closets and air-conditioning and heating equipment. More than 60% of them argued for renovating the Johnston tunnels, including laundry rooms, and house dorms.

Image source: Photographs of Johnston D by Grace Wang.

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