I’ve often thought of the West Dorm as a “home away from home.” School kids move in on Mondays ready to make the place their own. They haul their sleeping bags and clothes off the bus and up into their rooms, thrilled to be on this grand adventure north. Summer campers gather around the fireplace to play board games as they wait for darkness to settle in and stars to come out. In fall’s morning glow, eagles and ravens soar by the great room windows. A parent-chaperone relaxes on the window seat reading a novel during a mid-winter afternoon break.

The West Dorm is a place with heart – the kind of place memories are built.

Even so, I and others up here are excited to see the old interior walls coming down, making space for the new. Betsey imagines the cozy sitting areas that will allow smaller schools to have private gathering places. Teachers look forward to the ease of grouping students into new rooms with in-room bathrooms and showers, similar to the current East Dorm rooms. The new spaces will be perfect for making lifelong friendships during Summer Family Camp.

And through it all, that iconic fireplace will still be there.

As you look at these photos, I invite you  to imagine this coming winter with me: Kids will still get off the bus in a rush to see their home away from home. The fireplace will still be a central gathering spot. The sun will pour in through the windows on an expanded great room…. There will be much to love about the new Margaret A. Cargill Lodge. The journey to make the dream a reality has begun!

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