Unity Blog

New Homes for 250-Year-Old Schools

During the past several years, Unity has worked with two educational institutions to build faculty housing: The Governor’s Academy in Byfield, MA, and Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. The schools chose to work with Unity for similar reasons, and both have been pleased with the process and the homes.

The Governor’s Academy, founded in 1763, is the oldest continuously operating boarding school in America. In 2015, the school committed to building six new faculty houses over the course of ten years, as part of a new strategic plan that emphasized the importance of offering high quality on-campus housing for its faculty. After researching a number of options for building these homes, the school decided to work with Unity.

Tom Woodruff, Director of Facilities at the Academy, said that the school was impressed by the quality, energy efficiency and durability of Unity Homes. The fact that we use off-site construction was also important, because the time frame for building the homes was tight. And Woodruff appreciated the flexibility of Unity’s package options: with Unity providing the complete shell of the home plus various finish materials (our “Tempo” option), the Academy was able to complete the construction using their in-house tradespeople and several local subcontractors.

The Academy based the design of the homes on Unity’s Tradd platform. The Tradd’s classic appearance fits with the historic homes on the school’s campus, and the floor plan options work well for the intended occupants—“empty nester” faculty members.

Unity and the Academy built the first two faculty homes in 2016. We recently assembled the third home on site, which the Academy expects to finish in July.

“Unity has been a good partner for these projects,” said Woodruff, “and we look forward to building more faculty housing with them in the future.”

Faculty Housing at Governor’s Academy completed in 2016

Dartmouth College—which celebrates its 250th anniversary this year—faced challenges similar to those of The Governor’s Academy when it came to planning new faculty housing. When the college needed four homes built on a tight timeframe and to very high standards, Unity was a natural choice.

Faculty Housing at Dartmouth College

According to Tim McNamara, Dartmouth’s Associate Director for Campus Planning and Facilities, three factors weighed heavily in the college’s decision to hire Unity: speed of construction, energy efficiency and price.

The four faculty homes that Unity built at Dartmouth are part of new residential communities that cluster student housing with homes for professors. Each home has a Unity Värm design platform at its core, but at 3200 square feet, they are larger than typical Värms, in order to accommodate faculty-student gatherings.

Unity began the off-site construction of the homes in January of 2016, and assembled the weathertight shells on site that March. The homes were completed by early summer, allowing the new occupants to be moved in well before the start of the fall semester.

Dartmouth’s McNamara has praised the new homes as “solid, attractive and durable.” We know that they are comfortable, healthy and low-maintenance as well.

Venerable institutions like Dartmouth College and The Governor’s Academy know the importance of investing for the long term. They chose to work with Unity in part because we share values that include quality, efficiency, and care for the planet and future generations. We’re proud to be playing a small role in helping these schools to prepare for the next 250 years!

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