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The Dorms: Past, Present, and Future

Webb’s dormitories are spread out around campus.

   Webb prides itself on being one of the top boarding schools in the nation. According to a statement on the school’s website, Mr. Taylor Stockdale says that he’s “proud of what we’ve inherited and evermore excited about the road ahead.”

A boarding school can prepare students for all sorts of daily challenges they will face in college and in life, such as learning time management, sharing a dorm room, doing laundry, etc. A key part of being at a boarding school is living in dormitories.

   In 1933, Alamo Dorm was built on Webb campus, with concrete and adobe. Subsequently, Jameson was built in 1959, using building blocks instead of concrete. Jones and Holt Hall were built in 1965, Macleod in 1966, Kirkhill and Reynolds in 1970, and, lastly, Appleby was built in 1980. To house girls with the addition of VWS students in 1981, roofs and walls were built in Jones and Appleby, which were originally outdoor.

“The current structuring reflects, really, the history of the school, because it was a boys’ school for so long,” said Dr. Jessie Atterholt, Science Department Faculty and Appleby Dorm Head.

   “Also, for quite a while earlier in Webb history, their class sizes were a lot smaller. As we all know, the original VWS class was quite small. So, actually for a very long time, girls would have singles too, and, it’s only been over the course of time that the class sizes grow, and now ends up with all the girls in doubles. But there’s still boy dorms for all the boys to be in singles. So, it’s really all based on history, the history of the school,” said Dr. Atterholt.

   Among the students, especially in the Vivian Webb School, there are often conversations about the differences between dorms for VWS and dorms for WSC. Dr. Atterholt and Mr. Kevin Quick, Science Department Faculty and Alamo Dorm Head, revealed that a lot of the complaints are due to miscommunication and lack of information.

   For example, many VWS boarders dislike the fact that they share a room for most of their Webb career. 40 of the 57 VWS boarders surveyed responded that they’d be more happy with a single room. However, because of the way the buildings were built, this structuring cannot be altered.

   Dorm prefect Kristopher Smith-Reichartz (‘19) says, “the rooms structurally are built to be a single, but there are options for doubles.” This means that WSC students can still have the roommate experience: 8 out of the 63 current WSC boarders have had a roommate in their Webb career.

   Concerns are being heard by Dorm Heads, and there is definitely conversation going on. However, to initiate change in the current dorm system, more than just one group of people have to make compromises.

   Mr. Quick says, “Lots of people have to be involved in it, not only does it have to involve just the dorm heads and the administration but it also has to be with the parents, admissions, even alumni. There has to be a lot of conversation among all the groups.”

   Ultimately, the goal of the dorms is to provide the best residential life for students that can teach valuable lessons that will be useful as students begin their lives outside of Webb. By getting students used to living in a dorm room on campus where they are taking care of themselves and their peers, students are challenged to work on skills ranging from daily chores to time management; these will ultimately be beneficial to their future lives.

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The Dorms: Past, Present, and Future