Student-wellness center construction disrupts classes, but promises a new heart of campus

September 25, 2018 — by Allen Chen

Construction on wellness center, which has disrupted classes nearby, is expected to finish in January.

Junior Naveen Bashyam sits in English teacher Meg Battey’s room in the middle of a 30-point Socratic seminar, and he’s yet to speak for the first time. He notices a lull in the conversation, and leaps at the chance. Just as he is about to deliver the sentence of the century, the sound of clattering and buzzing outside the door cuts him off. He freezes, and someone else takes the opportunity to speak.

This scenario might resound with many students in classes near the nascent student-wellness center. The remodeling of the 800 wing has been ongoing since last year.

When complete, the center will provide a student center, places for students to meet with CASSY counselors and rooms for teachers to collaborate.

“Our wellness center should be the heart of campus,” principal Paul Robinson said.

While the original estimated budget for the project was $3.5 million, the actual price is en route to being significantly less. This is mostly due to the roof being in better shape than the administration first expected.

Bashyam is ready to see the building completed.

“I feel like it’ll really neutralize the stress here,” Bashyam said. “Counselors being there and it being a chill place will really help students relax.”

The construction, which was scheduled to finish over the summer, was delayed by a severe concrete hose malfunction. The workers were forced to move the concrete by wheelbarrow as a last resort. The building is now expected to finish in January, Robinson said.

The construction crew, which has finished laying down concrete, is now beginning the process of framing the walls. The administration expects to begin installing plumbing and electricity soon.

Because they are only remodeling a building, as opposed to building a new one, the construction is significantly easier. The downside is that the construction needs to occur in the middle of campus, creating noise and dust.

The administration has tried to schedule the loudest operations after school, but there inevitably are still distractions during school hours. Regardless, Robinson thinks the benefits of a central student-wellness center will outweigh the temporary noise during class.

It’s going to be a place for students to gather, a place for our CASSY counselors to be meeting with students, a place for teachers to gather and collaborate,” Robinson said. “We all want to get it built as soon as possible, so we’re just going to have to deal with some noise right now.”