The Pomfret School's School Building clock tower was removed by crane and is being restored. The original slate roof has been stripped and will be replaced. Linda Lemmon photos.

By Linda Lemmon
Town Crier Editor
POMFRET — Shining new faces arriving at Pomfret School in the fall will be greeted by a couple shining new projects and two more to follow.
Ed Griffin, chief financial officer, said favorable market conditions inspired the school to refinance its debt of $14 million, add $10 million and have the debt service remain essentially the same.
That $10 million is going toward four projects to serve the 367 students and 85-plus faculty members.
First the original School Building is getting a new slate roof and a restored clock tower. That should be finished by August. According to Griffin, the slate roof is original, 120-plus years old. The roof project will cost about $1.3 million, he said.
The clock tower was removed and will be restored, according to Director of Facilities Brenda Bullied. A crane took down the 5,000-pound tower and it is in the facilities department being examined. “The clock is in worse condition than we thought,” Bullied said. “The outside is pretty damaged.” She said they are looking at what needs to be done. She estimated it will take two carpenters six weeks to fix. The clock was rebuilt 20-22 years ago. The timepiece was moved into the clock in the Reading Room. She said she’s not sure how old the clock is but it appears to be in the original blueprints of the School Building. She said the repairs needed “caught us by surprise.”
Griffin said the School Building houses academic and senior leadership space and is the “most nostalgic” of the school’s buildings (along with the chapel).
Second and to be finished by the time students arrive is the complete renovation of the Jahn ice rink. This is a joint project with The Woodstock Academy. Griffin said the academy is kicking in $1 million and Pomfret School is kicking in $3.8 million. Bullied said “basically everything” will be replaced. The chiller failed two years ago, she said, and much of the equipment is 50 years old. She said poor equipment made for poor-quality ice and a shortened ice rink season. It used to open in November. It will now be open from Sept. 1 to the end of April.
She said they will replace the ice machine, redo the siding and roof and add humidity controls to “condition the air” resulting in better quality ice. “No more ‘raining’,” she said.
The third project, new faculty residence, should be complete by March. A new building is in the planning stages and $1.2 million is earmarked for that. It will have one- and two-bedroom apartments. It will allow the school to attract and retain good faculty, Griffin said.
The fourth project funded with $6 million of the debt-refinance, is renovating the auditorium. That is slated to be finished by April 1, 2022, said Griffin. Bullied said the stage will remain, and they will try to retain some architectural features. “Telescoping seating” will be added which will allow flexibility for performances/gatherings of different sizes. New lighting and a new sound system will be added. While that project is underway, Griffin said the school is considering alternatives including technology and using the chapel.
Griffin said the biggest need is a new science center. The cost for that would be between $16 and $18 million, he said. A capital campaign will raise money for that, “with no distractions” of other projects. Bullied said the committee for a new science center has been in an “intensive planning process” for two months. They intend to tour science centers at other schools. Current and incoming science teachers are adding ideas. If the planning/fund-raising goes well, Pomfret School hopes to christen a new science center in the fall of 2025, Griffin said.
Griffin and Bullied are both excited about the changes happening now, coming soon and coming later. “We’ve been planning since last summer,” Griffin said.
Bullied noted the school is also outsourcing to local sources. “It’s the hallmark of what we try to do here,” she said.


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