The new Waldo offers comfort and light

The parents of Class of 2014, having seen the 56-year-old Waldo Auditorium as an old and tired space, funded its renovation as their class gift to Dana Hall. Most of the refurbishing work was done over the summer, and the remaining part such as chairs were installed after school started; the tablets on top, however, are still on their way.

The room has undergone a complete change. Shades, fans, chairs, lights and carpet have all been replaced. The walls were repainted, new wireless access points were added that would allow more people to use the internet simultaneously, new fire alarms were installed to cover a larger area, and a control station with a control pad and neatened wires has now become more user-friendly. The amplifiers that used to be on the stage have been moved down to the basement for more space and less noise pollution.

Nadia Myers ’17 commented, “The new fans, chairs, and lights are really nice to have.” Mijeong Jo ’15 said that it feels that the legroom is less and wondered if there were more rows of chairs, but in fact, according to Charlie Breslin, the school’s Chief Operating Officer, the seats “just feel bigger because of the cushions; they’re about one inch thicker [than before].”

Although all work was planned to be completed over the summer, the delivery of the chairs and tablets was delayed and thus caused some inconvenience. The reasons are that they were manufactured in Mexico, which required extra shipping time, and the fabric has to be fire-proof. Plus, the tablets that were sent originally did not fit.

“The moral of this story,” commented Caroline Erisman, Head of the School, “is that we had a great timeline; we did everything well in advance. You can have a plan, but when you’re dealing with an outside group, things happen. We’re working hard on it.” She added that John Holmes, the school electrician, and Tom Digiandomenico, the Assistant Director of Facilities, have worked to accommodate the delay as much as possible. “[They] had the chairs taken out right away. [They] had the carpet ripped out and the electrical work done right away,” said Ms. Erisman, “but the delivery is not in our control.”

Jo expressed her anxiety regarding the delay. “I am worried about the desks. Because I’m taking the SAT in Waldo soon, and not seeing the desks be done just makes me nervous.” Having to relocate the study hall has resulted in confusion as well. Myers said that “It’s just that I’m always confused about where to be for study hall.”

The parents who contributed to renovate Waldo “were excited to support this project even though their daughters who just graduated would not use it. “It’s their legacy. It’s what they’re leaving behind,” said Julie Gray, Director of Advancement.

In fact, you will be hearing soon about the next refurbishment project – the new student center. Stay tuned.

Photo: Waldo has new seats, new lights, new paint, new carpet, as well as other refurbishments. Photo credit: Letitia Zhang.

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