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An Episcopal, co-educational 100% boarding school in Middletown, Delaware for grades 9 – 12

Sunlight reflects off the new Pell-Moss dorms.
Rachel Mavity

Renovated and expanded Pell-Moss Dorms reopened to residents this August

As students came back onto campus this school year, there were excited “oohs” and “ahhs” as they entered through the new front doors of Moss and Pell dormitories.

The completion of Moss and Pell was the second phase of a larger cross-campus dorm renovation plan. These renovations create more parity between the dorms, and for the first time, St. Andrew’s can enroll as many girls as boys. In fact, this year, the school has enrolled two more girls than boys for the first time in school history.

“The new space is bright and clean. I think students will walk in and really love the look of these new dorms,” says Co-Dean of Residential Life Stacey Duprey.  

“Dorm living is at the core of our student community,” says Co-Dean of Residential Life Will Rehrig. “You come to St. Andrew’s and part of the experience is living with someone you don’t know. You get to connect with people who are different and it gives you the opportunity to learn about yourself and grow.”

The first phase of the dorm project updated and renovated Gaul West, Gaul East, and Mein dorms (also known as K, L, and M dorms) on the other side of the gully. These dorms now have air conditioning, and feature new flooring, new windows, new fixtures, and fresh paint. They reopened in the fall of 2020. 

“This project was very needed and has been in discussion for years, so it was great to be able to complete it before students arrived back on campus,” says Chief Operating Officer Ann Visalli.

“The buildings were very dated and dark,” says Director of Facilities Dave McKelvey. “We call what we did an update, but it was really more than that.”

The overhaul started from the floors up, and also included behind-the-wall improvements, including upgraded electricity and new connections to campus generators for additional capacity in the buildings.

The rooms now boast a more modern feel, with white walls and new lighting that brighten the space. New hardware was added to doors, fixtures, and cabinets. One of the biggest differences is the new energy-efficient LEED-certified windows, which help keep the air conditioning inside on hot nights, and help keep students warm and cozy on cold nights.

Moss Dorm residents hugging after a dorm function

The second phase of the project renovated, expanded, and connected Pell and Moss. The first phase of the renovation began in the summer of 2021; during that phase, the existing Pell and Moss spaces were renovated in the same fashion as K, L, and M Dorms. Air conditioning was installed via new HVAC systems, and the dorms received new floors, windows, paint, and fixtures. 

The second phase of the Pell-Moss renovation plan utilized existing dorm space in creative ways. Instead of keeping the Moss common room in its original location, architects moved it toward the center of the building in a new addition with high ceilings, large windows, and courtyard access.

The former Moss common room space was then transformed into dorm rooms.

Included in the addition is a new faculty apartment, which adds much-needed housing for faculty, providing additional support on the dorms for students. There is also a new laundry room in the building. 

As alumnae may recall, to get from Moss to Moss Annex, they had to walk across a small bridge. Now, they walk through a wrap-around, light-filled corridor.

Upstairs in the addition are new student rooms. New flooring throughout adds a warm, natural feel. LEED-certified windows bring in plenty of light. The common rooms, complete with sectional couches and kitchens, are warm and welcoming.

The renovation and expansion project added 10 more beds to Pell and Moss, for a total of 45 students on Pell and 50 on Moss; as well as six new showers and seven toilets.

Student studying in renovated room on Moss Dorm

Students were excited as they entered the new rooms, with several commenting about the new courtyard space. McKelvey credits the renovation team with “exceptional” planning, as they were able to purchase and stockpile most of the materials they would need in advance so the project was not affected by lack of items or cost increases due to the pandemic.

“St. Andrew’s focuses on sustainability—with these projects we [are now] able to use high-efficiency windows and HVAC,” McKelvey says. “And, 90 percent of the construction materials are recycled.”

Students moved in starting August 26 with the arrival of preseason student athletes; all other residents moved in on September 4. 

Bridget Daly, a IV Former, moved into Moss this September. “I really like how it’s like our own community,” she says. “Everyone walks in through the common room and people are there hanging out. You can just join the group."

"I’m social," she adds, "so I love hanging out in the rooms and the common room with everyone–it’s our social center.”

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