Douglass Hall Update #1


First of all, let me introduce myself. I'm Darrick Wong, a sophomore. For the next year or so, I'll be Menlo School's student representative for the Douglass Hall retrofit. From time to time, you'll see my articles in either the Coat of Arms or the Menlo Memo. This particular article happens to be simulcast on both the Coat of Arms and the Memo. So, without further ado, let's talk about Douglass Hall.

Let's get acquainted with some basic facts about Douglass Hall. It is four stories high. The first level, only visible from the back, is called level 1A and 1B. It is known as the basement of Douglass. The second story (called the first floor) is where the large open spaces are. You may have noticed some pictures floating around school (in particular, the Music Building) that show the inside of Douglass, or you may have seen it yourself. In any event, it's still the same, even during construction, except there is plastic covering the floor. As I recall, the third floor is mostly just rooms, although I've never been up there. The fourth floor is really the attic of the building, and it's the small floor you see way up top. I haven't been in there either.

The most dramatic thing about Douglass Hall is that it's quite gone. The first step in renovating is to demolish the old servant's quarters, which were not very attractive. If you were at Menlo on August 27th, you may have noticed the contractors tearing down the very last section of wall (at about 1:00pm). Hauling debris finished about September 8th. The contractors will be excavating various areas around Douglass Hall until the 12th of September. After that, drilling begins and caissons will be poured, forming the foundation for the new building! The foundations should be complete about Christmas? Then the steelwork will go up between January and February of 1998. This is how the next few months behind the fence will go assuming the plans stay the same. But, with forecasters predicting an early, harsh winter, who knows for sure what will happen? For now, the early completion date is June 25th, 1998 and the late completion date is July 25th, 1998.

If you think Douglass renovations have no effect whatsoever on you, think again. Actually, there are many repercussions from this project that will affect the school. You may notice that the water flow around campus buildings (Patterson Hall, for example) may be slightly decreased. This is because several pipes running under Douglass have been shut off, and the water must follow a more circuitous route to get to Patterson.

If you stand in the quad, notice that you can now see the water tower at the Middle School. Believe it or not, we actually use that tower, graffiti notwithstanding. Albert uses the water in the tower to run the irrigation system; none of the water systems you see in the buildings uses water from the tower. Alas, the tower has only a short time longer to live. Not only is it quite ugly, it will be torn down within a few years, and the irrigation will switch over to city water. I believe that this decision stems from the a report that stated that all the wells in Atherton are sucking up the water supply and Atherton might just start sinking. If this happens, you wouldn't have to go to Venice to see a sinking city!

Well, this is just about all I have for now. In the next article, I will discuss the new building!

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