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Students embrace change with renovations

Underclassmen+gather+in+the+renovated+learning+commons+to+study+and+collaborate.
Underclassmen gather in the renovated learning commons to study and collaborate.

Underclassmen gather in the renovated learning commons to study and collaborate.

Keaton Smith

Keaton Smith

Underclassmen gather in the renovated learning commons to study and collaborate.

Ben Sagritalo, Staff Writer

Students were greeted to a drastically different school last tuesday after the extensive summer renovations. The renovations transformed the first floor of the school including, converting the front hallway into a convenient lounge and hangout space, a complete renovation of the learning commons, and a new secure front entrance. While the school now looks significantly more modern and up to date, some students are questioning whether the renovation was an appropriate use of funding.

“I think it’s a waste of school funding,” Molly Manguse ‘18 said. “Instead of slashing our drama budget, firing teachers, cutting funding for arts programs they’re using the money for a renovation that we didn’t need.”

This is a common misconception among the student body. Due to convoluted state regulations and depleted budgets, public schools now have to pursue funding from a variety of sources each with their own restrictions. The renovation was funded by a bond millage proposal which was an approved in the May 2014 election by East Grand Rapids voters. Funds from the bond millage could only be used for cosmetic updates of the school, safety improvements, and technology. Faculty payroll is exclusively funded by the state government.

The renovations were designed to accommodate for the 21st century student body. “I think it was a great choice to have these renovations,” Michael Gagin ‘18 said. “The new spaces are very useful and gives students a lot of places to sit and hang out. The responses from other students was nothing but praise for the renovations.  “It really opened up the school and the new open floor plan is very intuitive,” said Alex Galbraith ‘19. Galbraith also reiterated many other student’s responses that they enjoyed the new spaces to hang out and eat.

The renovations aren’t all just hanging out and eating spaces, they are also enhancing the learning experience for students. “I have an online class fourth hour, so I use the independent study chairs in the library to do my online class,” Sophie Hawksworth ‘17 said.  

Teachers are also taking advantage of the new spaces. “I plan to use the little glassed in rooms in the library for speaking tests,” Se‎ñora Vila said. “It’s really important for language to have a private place to do that.”

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