IMS has long held the aspiration to provide accommodation privacy for all retreatants. For many, a single room is the perfect space for meditating alone and for reflecting on the teachings. Some also appreciate the fairness of offering the same kind of housing to anyone attending an IMS course. For others, private sleeping accommodation is essential for a feeling of safety, and allows ease in attending to various medical and physical needs.
While sharing a room during a retreat can provide an opportunity for different kinds of learning, we have listened to your comments that single accommodations offer the gifts of solitude, silence and simplicity.
These qualities support our entry into a quieter way of living and being, and deepen our sense of refuge. We are grateful to everyone in our community whose input has helped shape our vision.
The time has come! Plans are now underway for two significant building projects at our Retreat Center. One is to construct a brand new dormitory, and the other is a thorough and long-overdue renovation of the first and second floors of the ‘Catskills.’
We are on schedule to break ground in early September and to celebrate the completed facilities in mid-2013. We are committed to staying operational throughout construction, with the new dormitory going up first and the Catskills being redone as retreatants settle into the new building (which, by the way, will need a name – more on this at a later time).
On completion, privacy in accommodations will be guaranteed for everyone who sits at IMS.
The new dormitory, on the left in the illustration above, consists of 28 simple single rooms on two floors, all suitable for anyone with chemical sensitivities. The building itself is designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards for energy efficiency. A covered walkway connects it to the Annex (at the back) and the Catskills (far right).
This bird’s eye view shows how all three Retreat Center dormitories – the new building, the Annex and the Catskills – are connected. For accessibility, the dining room, the 1st floors of the Catskills and the Annex, the walkway and the 2nd floor of the new building will all be on the same level.
In the renovated Catskills, all 1st and 2nd floor rooms will become singles, with new flooring, ceiling and wall surfaces throughout. Bathrooms will be completely refitted and additional insulation will be installed for greater energy efficiency. The Gym will no longer be used for accommodations.
Layout of bedrooms in the new dormitory increases a sense of refuge. The placement of the wardrobe creates a ‘nook’ for the bed, offering privacy from the doorway and reducing any hallway noise. Walls will be constructed to isolate sound.
In both the new dormitory and the renovated Catskills, bathroom blocks contain fully private rooms for each toilet and shower stall.
An endeavor such as this requires expenditures outside IMS’s annual budget. After careful consideration, we set a goal of $2,350,000 to accomplish both projects. In late 2009, we began a major fundraising effort to achieve this, and and in early 2012 we announced that our goal had been met.
Thank you to all who contributed to this exciting endeavor. Through the power of our sangha’s generosity, our vision will be brought to fruition.