Allen House Dormitory Renovation, Berkshire School
Because of the need to keep buildings functional through each school year, independent schools often need to assemble a design and construction team that can successfully complete the project inside of three months or phase the project over several years, one June, July and August at a time.
Moser Pilon Nelson’s renovation of Berkshire School’s Allen House dormitory occurred over three summers (2010-12), with the work beginning on the roof and top floor, and moving down from there. Phase I began with the demolition of the adjoining Memorial Hall and required making Allen House whole again through the installation of a new slate roof and construction of a new south wall from the roof line to the basement at the section of the separation of the Memorial demolition. Phase 2 involved the gutting and renovation of the two upper residential floors, including all 12 dorm rooms, four faculty apartment suites with private baths, common rooms and student bathrooms. All spaces were made ADA accessible, and new electrical, fire protection and mechanical systems (including air conditioning) were added.
The two lower floors were renovated during Phase 3, including a theater and theater-related functions (a reception area and art gallery, a green room, a scenery shop, theater arts classrooms and a mechanical room), as well as a radio station and learning center offices. In the project’s most challenging aspect, a two-sided elevator was added to serve all five floors, which required cutting through the roof of the theater level and creating a shaft that hugs the inside of the L-shaped upper residential floors.
In spite of the complicated nature of these renovations and the compressed time frame, the 27,500-square-foot Allen House reopened in time for each new school year.