Written by Sabrina Chen
A formal proposal of the plan for the construction of a new building is currently being revised and will be sent to the school board during the end of Nov. 2014. According to Principal Denise Herrmann, the building will have two stories with a revised Student Activities Center (SAC), a wellness center and a patio area. Construction will start during fall 2015 and end in fall 2017.
The wellness center will have room for the school counselors, nurse, psychologist, and Adolescent Counseling Services (ACS). “Everything will be coming together on the second floor,” Herrmann said. “You’ll walk in and you can see the nurse, [or] you can see the counselor. All of that will be in one area that is in the center of campus.”
Herrmann believes putting all of the services into one place is beneficial to many students. “I’m a person who really believes in integrated services,” Hermann said. “I like it being at the heart of campus as a one-stop shop for students to take care of themselves.”
The new SAC will have a classroom with new furniture. Student Activities Director Lisa Hall thinks the new classroom will be a casual study area for students, as well as a new area for the Student Executive Council (SEC) to work and collaborate. “Now that the library has moved back towards a quieter space we hope to be able to use the classroom space and have a large group work together and not have to worry about being quiet,” Hall said.
The new SAC will have windows that open out onto the patio space. “When there are events people can spill out into a covered patio,” Herrmann said. “There will be both indoor and outdoor seating.”
According to Hall, the new patio area will provide a space for students to enjoy the outside while working. “I’m excited about the outdoor patio area and providing more actually seating outside too in a comfortable way,” Hall said.
Hall noted several problems with the old SAC. “It isn’t designed to be a student center, so we have over the years made adjustments to the building,” Hall said. “It wasn’t designed to be a SAC, so we’ve had to be creative in our use of it and and take furniture when we could get it. What’s nice is that the new building will be designed specifically for that purpose.”
Herrmann believes the new building will move the school forward in terms of innovation and design. “We think about what our needs are and the community’s investment in making sure our buildings were 21st century and not 1964,” Herrmann said.
Herrmann believes there may be a few issues with construction over the two-year period. “Some of the things in the center of the campus will be moved. Music is going to be in a mobile room.” She said. “There’s going to be some inconvenience in the short term that I will try to make it as pleasant for people as I can, but I know that we just have to be ready to do some problem solving when we need it.”
Herrmann has experience with construction and hopes to apply her experience to this project. “I’ve built a brand new high school, so I know that when you are doing construction, there’s always problems,” Herrmann said. “We’re going have to go into the construction season knowing that there are going to be some missteps.”
Hall thinks the new changes would better suit to the needs of students. “We have been overdue for something new, more comfortable, well lighted, and a space that really is designed with students and activities in mind rather than revamped library which is what the space was originally for,” Hall said. “The difference would be a space for students that wouldn’t just be devoted to academics, it’s more for social, and there aren’t a whole lot of places where that’s allowed these days around campus.”
The new changes will bring a different environment for the students. “That’s our goal to be a student center hub for activities, getting information out,” Hall said. “Plus just a place to hang out when you have some free time and are on campus just looking for something to do.”
Herrmann thinks the new building will add to the campus’ overall look. “I’m really excited about having a showcase building in the middle of campus,” Herrmann said. “Kids are really going to want to hang out there because it’s so beautiful. And I think aesthetically, that’s important to have your surroundings be a place you want to be in.”
Students have shown their support for the changes. Sophomore class President Chloe Sorensen is excited about the new building. “I think it will be a really great addition to campus and it will be nice for SEC to have a real classroom,” she said.
Senior Anna Zhou is sad that she will miss the new building but happy for the school. “I’m excited for the patio that the new SAC will have,” Zhou said. “It seems like it’ll be a great place to hang out with friends.
Sophomore Tone Lee has mixed feelings about the change. “I’m looking forward to more space, a more open environment and really, just another place to hang out to,” Lee said. “But I’m not looking forward to the time it’ll take to reconstruct frankly because then we won’t be allowed in the SAC and it’s a really fun place.”