Want to visit Narnia? Read the stories behind the Room of Requirement, the Cave, and other obscure campus spots

Mohini Rye
Tucked away in the Matthews Library office, Narnia, which stores the library’s movies, is open to students who wish to get some peace and quiet.

If you’ve studied in the Matthews Library, you’ve probably sat in the Room of Requirement and peeked into Narnia without even knowing it.

Most students know the names of rooms only as the locations of their classrooms, or places they can study; however, the names hold stories that are much more than just that.

Narnia is where all the movies (used for movie night) are kept and is found inside the library office.

The room was christened by a student in the 2013-14 school year, according to librarian Joanne Melinson.

“Narnia was named that because it’s a magical place,” Melinson said.

Narnia is where students can go to have a quiet space, and they can sit on the bean-bag chairs to relax or study.

“There are also blankets in there because it gets cold – especially in winter,” Melinson said.

“I think the cold is why they came up with Narnia.”

Narnia is the fantasy world created by the author of the Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis. In “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” Narnia was trapped in eternal winter until the evil White Witch, who caused the cold, was finally killed.

According to Melinson, the room was originally for students with migraines. However, it’s now available to anyone who needs a peaceful place to rest or study.

“Someone said the only thing (different) is that when you step out of our Narnia, time has actually passed,” Melinson said.

The Quiet Room’s official name is the Andrew Cochrane Room of Requirement, named for Andrew Cochrane, ‘97, who died in 2004.

After the library remodel in the summer of 2013, all the reference books previously in the Quiet Room were moved.

Mohini Rye
Junior Nico Burns and sophomore Bella Mathisen work in the Room of Requirement during their free period.

Now the reference books are integrated into the regular collection, the empty room is used for teaching, group work, special lunches and craft days, which, according to Melinson, makes it like the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter.

The Room of Requirement is a hidden room in the Hogwarts School that opens only when a person walks past the area of the door three times, thinking of what they need. It can turn into a variety of rooms, all suited for the seeker’s needs.

A plaque in the library room features a picture of Cochrane and a quote from “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” about the Room of Requirement and its purpose.

“We like this room for Andrew because it represents his sense of fun, and we think he would have approved of the Harry Potter reference, given that he was an Anglophile,” Melinson said.

The Benvenuti Gym, constructed in 1982, is dedicated to Joseph Benvenuti, who was the grandfather of six SCDS eighth-grade graduates. He secured many donations and finances, according to director of communications Julie Nelson.

The gym was phase two of a construction plan from the 1960’s to ‘80s.

In addition to the construction of the Benvenuti Gym, Tsakopoulos Hall was also built during this period.

George and Drosoula Tsakopoulos, for whom the building was named, had two children who graduated from Country Day (Katherine, ’86, and Angelo, ’90) but also had ties to Christian Brothers High School.

When deciding which school to give a major donation to, the couple decided to do a coin toss.

In 1982, SCDS became the proud location of a new building, saving about $150,000 and aiding the construction plan in its development.

Tsakopoulos Hall was a modular building that had previously been a branch of the Bank of America. It was renovated for classrooms and had its dedication ceremony on Oct. 20, 1983.

Up until its demolition in 2005, Tsakopoulos Hall contained the middle-school office and classrooms.

It was torn down to make room for the Frank Science Center.

Mohini Rye
Senior Nicole Wolkov, junior Annya Dahmani, sophomore Allison Zhang, junior Katia Dahmani and senior Marigot Fackenthal edit their pages on InDesign during paste-up. The wall behind the girls is plastered with awards from current and former Octagon staffers.

The origin of the Cave’s name – the room where the Octagon staff spends its long paste-up nights – goes back to the middle school.

The room that was the original Cave, now filled with computer equipment, is attached to the offices of director of technology Tom Wroten, ‘99, and Elissa Thomas, computer science and technology teacher.

“(It) has no windows at all (and) is off of the other room, so it is completely dark when you turn off the lights,” Octagon adviser Patricia Fels said.

“That’s where the name ‘the Cave’ came from, because it was so dark.

“When we moved over here (after the high-school quad was built in 1990), people kept calling the new room the Cave.”

The current Cave, which is next to the office of assistant head Tucker Foehl, maintains its cave-like atmosphere because of its high windows. In fact, at one time it had a sign on the door that said “The Cave.”

“(But) the other place was truly the original Cave,” Fels said.

By Mohini Rye

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