Celebrating 40: Campus facts and lore

1980

Micky in 1980.

Micky and the facilities crew in 2012.

With 34 years of service to Marin Academy under his belt, our Director of Operations, Micky Morris, knows this campus.  Take a virtual walk around Marin Academy’s campus with us and share your memories of our very own historical sites, quirks and lore in the comments below!

Library:

  •  The Library has the capacity for 20,000 books. We currently have 15,000 volumes.
  •  The Library Building, opened in 2005, sits on the site of the old San Rafael Medical Building; which was built on the site of the San Rafael Military Academy’s parade grounds.
  •  The oak tree to the southwest of the Library has been on campus since the Military Academy days.  It originally sat below the level of the doctor’s office parking lot. The green band around the base of the tree denotes the depth of the pit and wooden grate that surrounded the trunk.

Bodie Brizendine Leadership Center – BBLC (Administration Building):

  • A rifle range was located where the kitchen currently operates.
  • The columns and entablature on the Cottage Ave entrance are not original to the building. They are plastic; made by the same company that makes the large horses located outside P.F.Changs. This company also made fake bricks for San Francisco’s Ferry Terminal restoration.
  • Students once signed their names and left messages on the back of closet door in Room 29.
  • The large red wall adjacent to the indoor stairway pays homage to the red wall that greeted you as you entered the Administration Building prior to renovations and reopening in 2007.

Founders Hall:

  • Founders Hall was originally know as Dorm 1 – one of five dormitories on campus.  It reopened as Founders Hall in 1997.
  • When Marin Academy took over the property the south-end of the building became faculty housing. Assistant Head of School Ray Boring and his wife Maggie lived there for many years. Maggie was also the school’s Registrar.  As the school population grew this space was used as classrooms.  The north-end of the building was prop and scenery storage for the drama department.
  • Prior to renovations, this building was also home to a large population of Mexican Free Tailed Bats.

Visual Arts Center:

  • Until 1962 the original Visual Arts Center building was the Jewish Community Center. The building was later rented to the YWCA until MA’s student population necessitated more space.

Thacher Hall:

  • Thacher Hall, our science building, opened in 1990.  It was the first new construction undertaken by Marin Academy.
  • Many of the pipes were deliberately left exposed so students would gain a better understanding of how things worked.
  • The steel framework was an attempt to “tie” the building to the campus’ existing architecture.

Foster Hall:

  • Legend has it that there was once a large tunnel leading from Foster Hall to the old Administration Building (BBLC). Both buildings have been heavily renovated and there was never any indication of a tunnel. The rumor may have evolved from the steam tunnels that linked many of the buildings.
  • Foster Hall once housed the steam plant for the upper campus. On cold damp days you could follow the underground pipes by looking for lines of dry pavement.
  • Foster Hall also housed faculty on the upper floors. Roger and Mitzi Hall lived on the east side of the second floor and Barney and Barbara Stout lived on the west side. Jim Rivit, the School’s sole janitor, lived on the third floor.
  • It’s rumored that Foster Hall is haunted.

Annex:

  • Like most of the buildings on campus the Annex has seen multiple uses. Once an Infirmary, it morphed into faculty housing, then became the first computer classroom, music room, weight room, and back to classroom.

Athletic Center (New Gym)

  • The Athletic Center, built over the old parking lot, opened in 1998.
  • An incinerator was located in the back right corner of the lot and much of the school’s trash was burned on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings. Anything left over was transported to the San Quinton Dump which is now the local Home Depot.

Gymnasium (Old Gym):

  • One of the most overlooked features of the building is the Lamella Roof – a system in which short, hand cut members are placed to form an interlocking diamond pattern. The end effect is a barrel shaped ceiling.
  • The Student Center (which is currently home to the weight room) became affectionately known as the Travel Center by many Administrators who called it home while displaced during construction.
  • The building was once an emergency evacuation center for Marin County.  Emergency supplies were stored in Dorm 5.

Pool Locker Room:

  • This building was originally constructed to house the Military Academy’s kitchen staff. Each 10 by 10 room had a sink, vanity and closet and barely room for a bed. It currently houses boys and girls locker rooms and athletic storage.

Athletic Field:

  • We are currently on our second iteration of artificial turf. By switching from natural grass to artificial turf we reduced water consumption by 1,600,000 gallons every year.

Maintenance Shed:

  • Formerly home to the PX and Tailor’s Shop (uniforms had to be fitted), this building has also been used for visual arts and as a weight room. It was a strange combination because both pursuits happened concurrently; everything was covered with clay dust including the printing press which was also part of the curriculum.
  • In addition to the hundreds of work-orders processed each year, the maintenance department completes event set-up and take down for more than 200 on-campus events every year.
  • The maintenance crew completes an arduous 10 mile run every morning followed by 2 hours of calisthenics.

Sustainability:

  • Recycling is one of the oldest sustainability programs on campus. When first instituted, the maintenance department would collect 10 fifty-five gallon drums filled with empty soda bottles and cans each week. That’s a lot of bottles – the student population was about 300 at the time!
  • We have reduced landfill-bound trash by 50% in the last six years.
  • We have reduced electrical consumption by an average of 30% over the last four years.
  • In addition to the 1.6 million gallons saved by installing artificial turf, we have reduced water consumption by 13%.
  • There are over 150 trees on campus.

The 2012-2013 school year marks 40 years of education at Marin Academy.  Throughout the year we will be commemorating this anniversary with on-campus events for students, special publications (including this on-going series of “lists of 40″), and a community celebration at Bimbo’s in San Francisco on April 20 (Save the date!).

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