The Board of Trustees and President Michael Rounds recently announced that a major gift pledge has been secured that will fund a major portion of the construction of a new dormitory at the Williamson College of the Trades; the first totally new dormitory to be built on the Williamson campus since 1912. It is being designed to blend in beautifully with the existing dorms designed by Frank Furness and construction is targeted for a spring 2016 start.

The pledge is being provided by a longtime friend of Williamson that prefers to remain anonymous. When completed the new dorm, which will be located between Cottage Row and the Restall Sports Center, will be called “WATSON” in honor of longtime Board Chairman Wayne C. Watson, 4W8. The dorm will accommodate 24-26 students and will have a 2-bedroom apartment for a dorm manager.

The new dorm has been designed by Kevin Blackney 7W6, a founding partner of Blackney Hayes Architects, who was also the design architect for the Strine Learning Center in 2006. Blackney said, “The building has been designed to emulate the original dorms which were designed by Frank Furness in 1890. It is a challenge to replicate 1890’s construction with 21st century technology and codes. However, we are confident that it will be difficult for visitors to be able to tell the new dorm from the original dorms.”

Construction management will be provided by WB homes, Inc., of North Wales, PA, a construction company owned by Bill Bonenberger 7W9, Board vice chair. Bill said, “Our team from WB will have strong Williamson connections as well with Steve Cava 9W5 as project manager. We will also have Bob Pritz, who recently joined WB after 40 years as general manager for Mickey Schrenk 4W9, as our project superintendent. We would love to have as much Williamson alumni involvement in the construction of this new dorm as possible. We also intend to have some student involvement.”

President Rounds said, “Upon its completion, the new dorm will give us the flexibility of always having an existing dorm off-line for major renovations without having to reduce student enrollment. This gives us the opportunity to utilize our shops and student tradesmen to do some of the renovations so that our students gain valuable real-world experience while saving Williamson money. It’s the best of both worlds and some of our existing dorms haven’t had a major renovation in 25 years or more.”

If you’re a Williamson alumnus or friend in the construction industry and would be interested in more information about bidding on any phase of construction, or would like to be involved in some other way, please contact Steve Cava 9W5 (stevec@wbhomesinc.com or 215-699-0800, x224) or Bill Bonenberger (Billb@wbhomesinc.com or 215-699-0900, x221). “We truly want as much alumni involvement as possible to make this project a reality,” Bill said.

If you’re able to make a financial contribution to the project, please contact Pete D’Orazio in our Advancement Office at pdorazio@williamson.edu or 610-566-1776 x400.