Out with the old, in with the new: High School to undergo renovations


Photo by graphic used with permission of Lyle Erstad

Starting this summer, the building will undergo renovations, including a new main entrance. The entrance will make the building more secure, according to Ryan Rubenstein, assistant principal for activities and facilities.

When finals end and summer starts, the school doors will not be the only thing closing behind you. The parking lot will be closed off again while the school undergoes renovations to make the facility run more efficiently.

“One of the things identified [by the Forward 95 strategic planning team] was to look at the facilities and start making fiscally solid decisions that help bring our facilities back up to date as much as possible. That’s what we’re continuing to do,” Ryan Rubenstein, assistant principal for activities and facilities, said. “We went through a time where we were doing a lot of maintenance. Things would break, and we would fix them. Now we’re going into the phase of fixing them before they break. It’s a much more efficient and cost effective way to manage a facility.”

The renovations to come this summer include a new entrance, new locker room, and new upper parking lot, according to Rubenstein.

“We’re going to move the [student entrance] down to the entrance by the main gym and visitors will have to be buzzed into the building after going through the proper security credentials,” Rubenstein said.

The new main entrance will fix what Rubenstein believes are two issues with the current school entrance.

“You will pull up the drive and see a main entrance to the school,” Rubenstein said.

According the Rubenstein, this is important because people frequently mistake the Performing Arts Center for the main entrance. Moreover, the new entrance will be more secure.

“I’m big on safety and security, and I think one of the things we lack here is having a secure entrance where people get buzzed in and checked in properly,” Rubenstein said.

To accompany the new main entrance to the building, the upper parking lot will also be renovated.

“We are restructuring the traffic to the best of our abilities to try and help prevent some of the traffic problems that we have had up there with people getting dropped off, people making U-turns, and overflow parking,” Rubenstein said. “[It will] create a better flow of parking up there, and really create two lanes going out of school and one lane coming in.”

While Rubenstein hopes that the renovations will be beneficial to students, Lauren Mandal, junior, agrees.

“I’m really excited for the renovations because I know I’ll feel a lot safer throughout the day,” Mandal said. “[Renovating] the parking lot will be good because it takes students and parents so long to leave the school.”

Although the outside of the building will experience most of the renovations, areas inside the school, such as the downstairs boys’ locker room, are also getting attention.

“Those lockers are very old and will be replaced this summer in addition to things like painting that will freshen up the locker room itself,” Rubenstein said.

With the summer renovation plans approved by administration, the school is also looking ahead and discussing further projects.

“Looking longterm, there’s already some conversations about many other projects around here including the library, the cafeteria itself, and the upstairs area as well,” Rubenstein said. “There have been some preliminary plans to possibly put a snack shop outside of the cafeteria where you can pick up a coffee or a quick sandwich. We’re looking at the plans and it might be something that also goes in this summer.”

In past renovations such as Studio C, the stadium bleachers, and the tennis courts, the goal was to cater to students and their needs, Rubenstein said. He believes those projects were successful because of their focus on students.

“When I walk into Studio C and see 30, 40, 50 kids in there, that’s success to me. Do we still need to work on proper behavior? Sure. But at the same time, people are utilizing the space for what we wanted them to use it for,” Rubenstein said. “The same can be said about the athletic stadium and the tennis courts. [Students] are out there at any given time of the day.”

Although enduring the planning process and construction of the renovations can be a lot of work, the results are beneficial to the students and that is what counts, according to Rubenstein.

“I’d like to think everything that we do here has to have a student-centered focus to it,
“Rubenstein said. “With the things that we did in all of these [renovations], I think that was the most important thing to us.”