Written by: Rebecca Alger and Klaire Tan
The newly constructed world language building opened for students on Feb. 11. The 9,100 square foot building consists of two separate structures connected by a canopy and makes extensive use of glass in order to increase natural light. “The rooms overall are just fantastic,” Assistant Principal of Facilities Kim Cowell said. “They are just much more airy and light, making learning much more enjoyable for the students.”
According to Cowell, the world language department was initially scheduled to move into the building over winter break. However, the project’s move-in date was pushed back two months for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest problem and time constraint was that when the school was built in the 1960s, not all the utility plans were updated and written out. It took a considerable amount of time for the construction workers to figure out which utility lines were dead, and which were still being used. “[Figuring out which utility lines were dead] was probably the biggest challenge because they had to go through and locate everything,” Cowell said.
The new building will provide the world language teachers more classroom and office space to teach and interact with students. According to world language Instructional Supervisor and French teacher Anne Jensen, the 14 language teachers originally shared nine desks for offices, preventing teachers from having a private area at which they can talk to students.
The move into the new building complex has also been accompanied with small problems, both technical and emotional in nature. “When you move into a new space, [there are] always difficulties,” Jensen said. “It’s hard moving from a room that you’ve been in for 15, 20 years to a new space. You get used to where everything was, and so now you have to find your new comfort space.”
Overall, the World Language Department has made a smooth transition from the original language classrooms in the L-Wing to the new building. “The language department really was wonderful,” Cowell said. “They really banded together to make it all work.” Next, the department is planning to move current language classrooms in the Village to the now vacated L-Wing classrooms.
Once the move is completed, the entire language department will be able to interact with each other much more easily. “We pride ourselves on working together and collaborating,” Jensen said. “It’s much more difficult when we’re so far away from each other, but it’s great to see that the school is becoming more centrally located.”
According to Principal Katya Villalobos, the moves will help the administrators prepare for the larger moves in the near future. The problems the World Language Department experienced will help administrators gauge how to divide time and resources. “It was a good learning experience for our big move in the fall. We learned what we need to do to be especially prepared then,” Villalobos said. “[Relocating] is almost like a chess game. You need to make sure that all the pieces are moving simultaneously.”
According to Jensen, the World Language Department is incredibly grateful for the new space they have to work in. “The building really shows how much our school and our community appreciate language,” Jensen said.