Baylor School dedicates new dormitory as part of effort to expand boarding enrollment

Contributed photo / From left, Alexis Guerry Bogo, Baylor Head of School Chris Angel, Cindy Howalt and Frederick Howalt III celebrate during the dedication ceremony for a new dorm, Howalt Hall, on Wednesday.
Contributed photo / From left, Alexis Guerry Bogo, Baylor Head of School Chris Angel, Cindy Howalt and Frederick Howalt III celebrate during the dedication ceremony for a new dorm, Howalt Hall, on Wednesday.

As part of an ongoing effort to expand its boarding enrollment, Baylor School dedicated its first new dormitory in over a decade.

Howalt Hall houses 23 students and two faculty apartments. The men's dormitory opened in time for the first day of school.

"Our mission for the universe is to maximize the student's time here to exact their Baylor experience," Alexis Guerry Bogo, the chair of the board of trustees, said during the dedication ceremony Wednesday. "This building behind me is a testament to just that"

This fall, Baylor set a school enrollment record with 220 boarding students. The students make up about one-fifth of the student body and come from 26 states, 19 countries and one United States territory.

"Our goal is to grow our boarding program, which allows us to diversify our entire student body," Head of School Chris Angel said in an interview. "It's really amazing for us to have that richly diverse student population coming from all over the world, which enriches all of our experience."

Within the next few years, Angel hopes to increase the number of boarding students to 250. The school is set to complete a group of faculty townhomes in March, which will allow existing faculty residences to be turned into dormitories for an additional 30 students.

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During a meeting with the admissions department, Frederick "Chip" Howalt III, a member of the board of trustees, learned the school was turning students away because it lacked space in the dormitories.

"It was about solving a problem and a need that Baylor had," he said during the ceremony. "It was never about this limestone above us with the name."

He said his father died recently, and the name was a nice way for him to leave a legacy.

Howalt led a group of 32 current and former trustees to raise the $8.86 million needed to build the new dorm. The funds also contributed to renovations and construction for other residences on campus.

"This building was built for our students to enhance our residential life experience and to help exact the experience of our Baylor collective student body community," Bogo said. "But today, in this moment, this building is all about the trustees."

The new dormitory contains two student lounges and a balcony on the fourth floor that overlooks the Tennessee River and contains outdoor seating and firepits.

(READ MORE: New faculty townhouse village to be added at McCallie School)

Baylor junior Damian Sparks, who lives in Howalt Hall, said he liked being a boarding student more than being a day student at his former school in England because it allowed him to connect with others better and gain a sense of belonging.

"It's absolutely incredible," he said in an interview. "The first thing I said when I came into the dorm was, 'Wow, this is absolutely amazing.' Now that we've also got this joint space between us, and Lupton (Hall), it's giving us an extra sense of community between the two dorms."

Baylor's tuition for day students this year is $29,330. It costs $59,400 for domestic boarding students and $64,100 for international boarders.

Contact Shannon Coan at scoan@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6396.

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