News - Detail

St Benedict Hall Opens to Fulfill an Aspirational Mission

This week, Delbarton students, and faculty and staff members moved into St. Benedict Hall, Delbarton's newest campus asset. 

Readers may recall that on March 2, 2020, as the global pandemic struck in the United States, Delbarton took the bold step of breaking ground on a 19,953 square foot addition to Trinity Hall, a leap of faith during an unprecedently challenging time. Thirteen months later, on April 13, 2021, the first young men strolled from Trinity Hall into St. Benedict Hall, four months earlier than expected.  Click here to take a full tour of St. Benedict Hall with Headmaster Michael Tidd, O.S.B.

Included in its sleek structural package are functional, flexible spaces packed with modern technology with a world of possibilities for collaboration, conversation, group gatherings and teleconferencing. Special spaces designed for quiet reading and individual work are also part of the master plan, and the basement level includes a spacious Archives office.

Gone is the old Valentine Library with its towering book stacks and heavy oak furniture. The previous library space has been converted into a Student Commons (shown below in action on a recent afternoon) with comfortable seating where boys can take breaks between classes and grab snacks from vending machines throughout the day. A Resource Center that includes both Math and Writing Resource Rooms was carved from offices and the former Quiet Study. 

Our new Library measures 9,422 square feet -- twice that of the previous library -- with 12 foot ceilings that give the main reading room an expansive feel. With open sight lines in all directions, even on the cloudiest day the room is filled with natural light. Librarian Jon Kelly ‘99 previously culled the Delbarton book collection from 11,000 books to 6,500 now housed in low-slung 3-shelf units. He will continue to add to the collection, taking recommendations from teachers and students alike. 

Perimeter Library spaces are particularly important to facilitate student collaboration.  On one side is the Media Lab, a production space and Library classroom that offers four laser-guided Epson boards, with a projector and flexible seating for project work. Closets disguised as white boards make this the perfect room for tasks that require ‘stuff.’ For example, members of the Middle School Robotics Club can work on their Lego-style robotics projects, then store them until the next meeting.

Next, the Quiet Reading Room is a handsome alcove offering a place to sit and read undisturbed. 

Five Group Study rooms with 1/2" glass, sound-reduction walls will dramatically impact collaborative work at Delbarton. Each includes a smartboard and a table and chairs for six. “We think they’re going to be extraordinarily popular,” says Fr. Michael. 

Students seeking a quiet place to do homework need look no further than the new Quiet Study with its 26 private study carrells to facilitate individual work. Again, glass walls make this a bright, tranquil space – and an easy one to supervise too.

The final asset on this first floor is the multi-purpose Spada Commons with its 16-plus foot ceiling and sweeping views of the Fine Arts Center, Formal Garden and Trinity Hall.

The second level of St. Benedict Hall includes three new classrooms, the same size as renovated Trinity Hall classrooms yet that feel more spacious thanks to HVAC duct work tucked away in the ceilings. The second floor is also home to the new Delbarton Guidance Center. For the first time in 60 years, all guidance counselors including our four-person Senior Guidance staff, work from a centralized location, and each member of the grades 7 to 12 Guidance team has a private office. 

The Guidance suite also includes break room and an office for a Learning Specialist, who will work on-on-one with students with mild to moderate learning disabilities or who are academically challenged. The last space on the second floor is the Hayes Room, another multi-purpose room that is adjacent to the guidance offices and dedicated to the memory of Abbot Giles Hayes (in the photo below, Fr. Michael tests out the technology in the Hayes Room). 

The design of St. Benedict Hall, and specifically the Library level, was inspired by an aspirational mission: to prepare Delbarton students for the future by teaching them important collaborative and time management skills. “Using this transformative building, Delbarton students can gradually learn as they approach senior year and go to college, how to manage their time,” says Fr. Michael. “We’re giving young men options to develop, in a structured environment, the skills of time management and executive decision-making that are so critical to success in college and in the professional world. And it all starts here in the new library in St. Benedict Hall.”

The Delbarton community thanks our many donors who made possible this transformative building on campus!