Updated: Jul 22, 2019
In this series, “Prep School Tours” we will attempt to visit as many prep school campuses as possible. In our visits we will take thorough observations of all aspects of the campus. We will focus on areas such as style, location, architecture, comfortability, natural factors, among other factors. We are viewing each campus removing as much bias as possible, trying to put ourselves in the shoes of a student who may go there. When looking at each campus we will try and answer a few main questions: Would this be a comfortable place to live? Is it practical? Is it nice to look at? What are the biggest issues? Now, keep in mind, these reviews are solely about the campus, and do not take into account academics, athletics, etc. At the end of each review we will give a score on a 10 point scale for three areas: dorms, athletic facilities, and academic buildings, plus an overall score (these are at the very bottom of the review). We're just starting out with these reviews, so they'll adapt as we get feedback. With that being said: Welcome to Avon, Connecticut.
Avon Old Farms
This campus is one of the most unique and intriguing campuses in New England, with a mix of small, almost hobbit-like dorms, modern academic buildings, and perfectly manicured lawns. However, for a school known for its athletics and mammoth postgraduates, the campus has a quaint feel to it.
Science building & Library
After checking out the map to get a feel for the campus as a whole, we checked out the science building and library. The library wasn’t very large (they aren’t there to play school) but the outside of it was similar to the other buildings: red brick, high roof. Sitting right next to the library is the science building, which boasts a large glass paneled staircase on the corner of yet another long red brick building. The
interior was surprisingly modern compared to the appearance of the outside. Overall, these two buildings aren't necessarily the most important on Avon's campus, but they're still pretty nice.
Academic Buildings Rating: 7.5/10.
Athletic Building & Student Center
Next, we moved onto the athletic building. The exterior was nothing to write home about, but the interior is strikingly modern and open. With arguably the nicest home locker rooms in New England, plus a great gymnasium, functional squash courts, and of course, first class hockey rink, it is clear the "school" focuses on athletics. Fittingly, they made their away locker rooms as terrible as possible--exactly how away locker rooms should be.
When you walk through the athletic building, there is a way to exit through the student center and academic building. The student center is larger than many other schools, with standard tables and benches, however, it does not seem very comfortable to be in. After exiting the building we turned around and noticed the fireplace sticking out of the front of the building, and the bell hanging above it. This was one of our favorite places on the
campus, as the recently used fireplace seems like a great spot for students to
gather, and the bell is just classic prep school. Turning around, you can see the dorms and dining hall are very close by. It feels tightly packed in, which is nice on those cold shitty morning walks to class.
Athletic Buildings Rating: 8.5/10.
The Dining hall appears incredibly old, with stone floors, high arching ceilings, and massive steel chandeliers hanging. At the same time, it appears surprisingly small, without many tables. Most interestingly, at the end of the room, there is a line of chairs that fold out from the wall, facing a long table and the rest of the dining hall. Sitting next to the long table, in the corner of the
room, on a platform, is a podium with a microphone, leading us to realize that the dining hall is also one of the main meeting spaces on campus. The area where students get their food is open and large. One feature we liked was the balcony that overlooks the entire dining hall, which gave us this great view of the Stone Age dining hall.
The next area we visited was the most different from any prep school that we have ever seen. The dorms at Avon Old Farms are incredibly old, and very unique. With tiny doors to enter through, it seems almost uncomfortable for anyone over 6 foot to venture through campus. We assume this means almost all of the athletes have hit their heads on a doorway at some point. That explains a lot. The weirdness doesn’t end there though, as once inside, it takes only one look down the hallway to realize something is off. Firstly, the doors are small, thin, and made out of old worn down wood. With 1foot gaps above and below each door, it seems practically impossible to do any ~private~ activities... maybe why they’re so good at sports is because of all the built up testosterone because…never mind.
Apart from the weird doorways, each door only locks from the inside… annoying. Can you imagine never locking your door when you leave? Oh god, that’s nightmare fuel. However, the worst part of the dorms, and easily of the entire school, is the pure size of each dorm room. Each room is maybe 6ft x 8ft, with the bed above the desk, a tiny closet, and almost non-existent floorspace. Everything is made out of extremely old wood, including the floors, which creak through the whole hallway with every step… very annoying, but I guess they don’t need to worry about sneaking girls into their rooms anyway. Not only do the rooms fucking suck (apart from the normally sized ‘dorm monitor’ doubles) but there’s no common room and nowhere for a group of kids to hangout, considering you can fit maybe half a kid in a room.
The whole thing smelled old as hell too. Keep in mind, we visited in the summer, meaning these dorms have already been empty for over a month before we checked them out. I can’t even imagine what the stench of 400 teenage, acne-covered, teenage guys would be during the year, especially with the doors never truly closed. Hockey, football, and lacrosse pads are this dorm’s worst nightmare. However, something interesting about the campus is the very new, surprisingly modern dorm that was built only for postgraduates. Again, it’s clear sports is their focus.
Note: These dorms are just for lowerclassmen, there are other dorms that we assume are nicer, but we were so blown away by the first few dorms that a couple nice ones wouldn't change much.
Dorm Rating: 3.8/10.
Avon Old Farms has a very pleasant campus, with beautiful paths connecting the red brick buildings, colorful flowers, the very slanted red roofs that catch the sun, a nice view overlooking the hills of Avon, and playing fields that are… adequate. The inside of the academic buildings is average, while the inside of the athletic building we were most impressed by. However, the biggest downside to the Avon campus is clearly its dorms, which look nice on the outside (apart from the hobbit doors) but are probably the least practical, most annoying, and utterly tiny interior of any prep school. The outside of the school is beautiful, without a doubt one of the nicest in New England, but the interior tells a different story that is hard to ignore.
Athletic building: 8.5/10 (...it’s Avon)
Academic buildings: 7.5/10 (surprising, right?)
Dorms: 3/10 (terrible, shit, the worst, cannot imagine living there)
Overall: 6.5/10. Yeah, it's higher than the average of the three ratings. Bonus points for having Clemson coaching legend Dabo Swinney up earlier this year, where he made the following observations:
Farewell, beautiful Avon.