Mx2: Meeting Goals, Moving Forward

In the year since the public launch of Mx2: The Campaign for Middlesex, substantial gifts and pledges from alumni, parents, and friends have raised the total committed funds to more than $170 million – a landmark sum for the School that is already making a difference to its people, places, and programs.

Visible signs of the ongoing success of Mx2 are everywhere on the Middlesex campus, from the graceful new entrances on LeBaron Briggs House and Clay House to the bright Howe Common Room that completes the western face of Robert Winsor House. On the northeast end of the grounds, a major transformation is underway as the School’s defunct steam plant – now surrounded by colorful, pictorial scrims – is being sustainably repurposed as the much-needed Music and Campus Center. On the southern end, near Higginson House, similar scrims encircle the site of a new dorm, which will bolster residential life with additional faculty apartments and student rooms. These and many other improvements, some tangible and some subtle, have been made possible by Middlesex’s generous supporters, people who believe in the School’s mission and are turning campaign aspirations into real achievements.

The newly renovated LeBaron Briggs House (LB)

The newly renovated LeBaron Briggs House (LB)

Residential Life Goals Reached

In strategic plans dating back to The Campaign of a Century, it has long been the intent to renovate the School’s older dormitories. In addition to updating the buildings’ utilities and systems, other objectives included trying to add faculty apartments; increasing the number of student beds where possible to shift the enrolled percentage of boarders toward 75 percent; and creating common rooms in dorms that lacked any such gathering space. The success of the last campaign made considerable progress toward these aims, resulting in the refurbishing of Bryant-Paine, Higginson, and Hallowell Houses, and in the construction of the Oates Lane faculty homes.

The Howe Common Room now completes the western face of Robert Winsor House (RW).

The Howe Common Room now completes the western face of Robert Winsor House (RW).

Now, thanks in large part to the leadership of the Mx2 Honorary Co-chairs – Board Vice Presidents Bob and Anne Bass (parents of Chris ’93) and former Trustee Victor Atkins ’63 and his wife Victoria – all of the campaign’s residential life goals have been realized.

A significant gift from the Basses accomplished the summer 2014 renovation of LeBaron Briggs House (LB) and Robert Winsor House (RW) – two major projects that clearly inspired further developments. Parents and alumni responded enthusiastically to Victor’s Residential Life Challenge, which offered a 1:1 match of donations up to $7.5 million in order to build a new dorm and make other residential improvements. The steady flow of contributions led to the Howe Common Room becoming part of the overhaul of RW – and helped establish the Beaton Common Room within Clay – at last providing these dorms with places to meet, relax, or study. This past April, the challenge’s successful culmination resulted in the summer renovation of Clay and the site preparation for the new dorm: Landry House, named for the late C. Kevin Landry ’62, longtime Board treasurer and generous benefactor.

The LB Common Room, Howe Common Room (in RW), and the Beaton Common Room (in Clay) provide great social and study spaces for students.

Campus Homes Created

In fact, Kevin’s own fundraising initiative – the Landry Family Challenge, a collaborative effort with his wife Barrie and daughters Kim GwinnLandry ’89 and Jen Landry Le ’94 – also deserves credit for the attainment of the campaign’s residential life goals. When the School received a $500,000 grant from the Mary Mae Foundation in 2012 to build faculty housing, it soon became apparent that the project’s construction costs would exceed that amount. Because of the Landry Challenge, which matched parents’ gifts to any of the School’s strategic objectives, sufficient funds were raised to build five efficient, new faculty homes across from Middlesex’s main gate.

Completed in 2013, Mary Mae Village added five new faculty homes to campus. 

Completed in 2013, Mary Mae Village added five new faculty homes to campus. 

Landry House will include three more faculty apartments, too, achieving another long-term priority of adding seven faculty homes by 2017. This would likely please Kevin, as Jen recalls that her father considered strong faculty support key in retaining good teachers. “It would have been important to him to have three more families right on campus,” she reflects.

Landry House will be complete for the 2016 academic year.

Landry House will be complete for the 2016 academic year.

The dorm’s 36 beds will also bring the boarding population closer to becoming 75 percent of total enrollment, progressing toward that long-range benchmark. And, of course, Landry House has been designed with great communal spaces that would have been particularly meaningful to Kevin. The Class of ’62 Common Room was given as a 50th reunion gift by his class, an especially close-knit group; and, the 1989 Commons area was a collective 25th reunion gift from his daughter Kim’s cohesive class.

With its foundation now poured and set, Landry House will take shape in the coming months on the slope next to Higginson. “By September 2016,” confirms Head of School Kathy Giles, “we will have renovated three dormitories and built a new house. We have to thank all of the people involved – Victor and the Basses and the Landrys and many others – and use the momentum they have generated to kick off the last part of Mx2.”

Landry House construction is well under way with the foundation poured and the structure beginning to take shape.