Construction completed, new buildings open for use

Josh Mei, Reporter

Returning from spring break, students were greeted by the completed construction. After almost two years of dusty air, noisy equipment and cramped hallways, the senior quad reopened and brought with it a return to the open campus.

Assistant Principal of Facilities Margaret Reynolds is excited about the new cohesiveness of campus. “It’s nice to see the campus open up again,” she said. “It definitely brings more community to Gunn.”

The newly-named P building will be home to the graphic design, yearbook, Student Executive Council and journalism classes. The Wellness Center, College and Career Center, Student Activity Office (SAO) and Student Activities Center (SAC) will also be moving into the new building next year.

Until then, however, the various departments and classes are gradually moving in when able to. “We can’t have wellness and counseling up there [until] potentially mid-May,” Reynolds said. “[And] media arts can’t move in yet because the tables are foldable and fall down, but when the computers come in we’ll have that all set up.”       According to Reynolds, the administration is planning the extended move in, which should finish next school year. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for next fall.

Administration, teachers and students are excited to officially move in in August. “I look forward to being in that part of the school,” graphic design   teacher and yearbook advisor Mark Gleason  said. “It seems like a warm hub of activity.”

Junior Peyton Lee is also happy with his experience in the new buildings. “I’m involved in the music department so the new music facilities, which have been open a little longer than the SAC, are really great and definitely better than the village,” he said. “I like the [new SAC] bathrooms and the new [SAO] is really nice.”

Reynolds hopes this new building will promote communication and collaboration between the school yearbook, “The Olympian,”  and the school newspaper, The Oracle. “I’m a firm believer in continuity, like social studies should be with social studies,” she said. “They should be close to each other and if they’re disjointed there’s a little bit of separation and we really want to promote collegiality and collaboration.”

Construction planning was not all smooth sailing, however. “It’s just kind of a work in progress, like anything else there’s sort of bumps along the way but we’re doing our best and everyone is maintaining their composure and patience,” Reynolds said.

According to Gleason, lack of communication often led to frustration and confusion. “This [project] has gone through several administrators, and no one has carried that information forth except for [journalism adviser Kristy] Blackburn and me, and a few other teachers,” he said. “The administrators in that position now are trying to figure out what’s going on. They’ve been handed certain things that they have to do and they’re listening and they’re trying to work around it.”

The design choices have also raised some controversy. Lee, for one, thinks that the Gunn logo is a little excessive. “We all know we’re at Gunn, it’s just a bit extreme,” he said.

Some others have also critiqued the color choice. “They’re calling it the ‘P building’ and it’s yellow?” Gleason said. “[But] I personally like the sunny yellow because the rest of the campus looks sort of like army barracks.”

Despite these complaints, students and faculty agree that the new building will be a welcome addition to campus life. “I think it could have been done in a more expeditious way but overall I think it’s worth [the years of construction],” Lee said.

Looking towards the future, the school is already preparing for the next round of construction, according to Reynolds. “That building where the cafeteria is will be the new admin building; the admin building currently will be the new cafeteria, food services and culinary arts space,” she said. They also plan to use up the bond money they have now to expand concessions, add air conditioning to Titan Gym and modernize Spangenberg and the classrooms. “We’re very excited. Everyone’s going to get kind of an update,” Reynolds said.