The Issue With School Renovations


Keaton Shaffer

ASSEMBLY Blocked off for repairs by a line of fences, the field house is inaccessible to the students who normally use it every day. Construction zones and equipment have been all over the place this school year, the sight of them beaming at our faces like headlights. “I think it’s pointless to be honest. The showers and lockers were fine, and sure the ceiling was falling apart, but it worked,” said sophomore cross country runner Leo Redding.

Keaton Shaffer, Staff Writer

The 2021-2022 school year has seen more than a few renovations and remodels for FMHS. When we returned in August, we saw that our main hallway had changed significantly, with a shiny new paint job and spiffy hanging lights. Though nice as a surprise, renovations as big as that one and the others we have seen since then can be an issue during the school year.

Big school renovation projects should be worked on when school is not in session.

Take our library for example. Our school library has been under construction, completely unusable, for over a semester, and it has still just barely opened back up. And now that it has been renovated, it serves almost exactly the same function as it did before. Sure, everything in our school needs to be kept current, but is it really worth cutting off a major gathering place and resource center for students just to hang some lights and add some couches? Another example is the fieldhouse. Yes, the fieldhouse desperately needed an update, but is it really worth all the trouble to do right now? Students in cross country, track, and baseball have all had their locker rooms temporarily relocated while the broken showers and stained floors get replaced. However, this process isn’t that simple, and, according to sophomore cross country runner Seth Buraglio, “most people would’ve preferred to just have stayed in the old one.” 

Not only do renovations during the school year relocate certain students and services, but they can also take up a lot of usable space. Everybody has seen the fences blocking off material and construction equipment around school this year. For some time, large chunks of the outside of the school have been blocked off to house machinery and construction elements. This is obviously a problem that can be solved by waiting to complete remodel projects during breaks from classes, as the issue of space is alleviated if the school is virtually empty.

Doing construction projects in this way also adds multiple levels of stress to the school climate, as administrators and faculty have the added responsibility of avoiding certain areas, maintaining order in others and in some cases having to oversee certain aspects of the remodeling. Students may also feel stressed, with their classes possibly being difficult to find after being relocated or being made to use a detour due to blocked off areas. This stress can be a large distraction from regular activities, something we desperately want to avoid in times when an added layer of stress hovers over us every time we step outside our homes.

One might argue that, if remodels were reserved for breaks, there would be a lot less time to complete the projects, which could lead to suboptimal results or put our school in situations where we must return to regular schedule in an incomplete or in-progress construction zone. However, it is reasonable to say that without having to work around students and teachers, there would be much more time per day to work on construction projects. We can justifiably assume that, just as less distractions for teachers and students would help them work more efficiently, less regulation and more space would also make the difficult work put in by construction teams go smoother.

In short, though renovations are critical to the continued functioning of our school, they should be reserved for times when school has paused in order to limit the amount of restricted areas, the amount of space taken up by construction equipment and the added levels of stress created in a place we all want to feel inviting and manageable.