Machan’s Dorm Flood


Courtesy of Amy Ma ’23


On the morning of Friday, September the 23rd, students on their way to chapel were surprised by the sight of fire trucks parked outside of Machan’s dorm. Due to an unfortunate series of events, the emergency fire sprinkler system was set off in one of the upstairs rooms of the dorm. Once turned on, the sprinkler would not turn off, causing the water to flood into the halls and to leak through the ceilings into the rooms below. “I was shocked,” recounts Lucas Gordon ’23, a prefect of Machan’s dormitory, “I had just finished brushing my teeth when I noticed that our main staircase had turned into Niagara Falls.”

Between the water damage and risk of mold, the decision was promptly made to move the students out of the dorm that afternoon and to move them into the Sturgis house– a former faculty house located across the street from the Dining Hall.

The whole administration was quick to work together to support the dormless boys: Mr. Brussel from the athletic department provided washing and drying for any clothing affected by the flooding; the Deans offered free dry cleaning, reimbursed any damaged goods, and installed a wifi hotspot in Sturgis; the Building and Grounds crew set up mattresses and cots for the entire dorm within that same Friday afternoon. 

Lawn chairs and a projector were provided to help make the living room of Sturgis resemble a dorm common room. Faculty fellows Mr. Papadellis, Mr. Madden, and Mr. Phillips affiliated with the boys during their stay at Sturgis and took turns sleeping over each night. Mr. Madden comments that he got to connect with the students in a much more “holistic” manner than he gets to in the classroom, since everyone was living together in such an intimate space. 

Due to how the bedding was set up, Angus Miller ’25 was placed in the same room as prefects Lucas 23 and Zidane Marinez ’23, and Michael Lu ’24 was placed in a room connected to prefects Ziggy Bereday ’23 and Oliver Orr ’23. It was small switches in the dorm dynamics like these that contributed to the students being able to bond more than they would in a regular dorm. Instead of going off to their own rooms, dorm members spent Saturday nights socializing in the common room late into the night. Tiger Zheng ’25 fondly remembers hanging out in the common room with the others and challenging them to games of NBA 2K. Although no one knew how long the situation would last, all were unified to make it work.

After a week of hard work from B&G and an outside construction company, Machan’s dormitory was deemed safe to live in once again on Friday the 30th, bringing an end to Sturgis’ dormitory. Students were relieved to return to the dorm, but did not hold their time away from it in contempt. Jack Ryan ’25 puts it best: “we left as a dorm, but returned as a family.”