Counterpoint: Was it necessary to redo the front of the school?

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Myla Tannenbaum, Contributing Writer

Students and staff are greeted by piles of dirt every morning at Schreiber as opposed to a proper entrance.  Many students are clueless as to why this construction is even happening.

In 2015, the community of Port Washington voted to pass a bond that would fund the renovation of the front of the building, among other district projects.  The renovation is meant to enlarge the cafeteria, in order to accommodate the growing size of Schreiber’s student body.  .  The current freshman class is the largest class the school has ever had with 444 students.  The construction will also result in a new stairwell connecting the cafeteria to the commons and new technology classrooms.  Although these improvements sound nice, the renovation was not necessary for a number of reasons.

While the extra space in the cafeteria will be helpful to provide additional seating, it is not a necessity for the school.  The cafeteria is not the only place that students eat lunch and spend their off periods.  Many students congregate in the library, outside, or in the commons.  Junior and senior students are also permitted to leave campus during the day and eat lunch elsewhere.  The cafeteria’s only distinguishing factor that sets it apart from these other locations is that students may buy lunch here.

“I eat outside and it’s better because you can actually socialize with your friends that way.  In the cafeteria, the desks are spaced out and since there are other people talking, you can’t really hear your friends,” said freshman Leisha Sewani. 

The new technology spaces, although may be helpful, are unnecessary to adapt to future classes. 

“Schools need to continually evolve to meet the ever changing needs of its students and the demands of society.  What was once considered technology classes no longer prepare students for college or careers in those fields.  So, this new space will help us upgrade our offerings and help us continue to grow,” said principal Dr. Ira Pernick, in support of the renovation. 

 With technology constantly evolving, what will soon become a newly improved technological renovation, will quickly become outdated.

In addition, it seems that the entire project has barely made any progress.  Over the summer, when the mostly vacant building would have offered an ideal situation to accomplish much of the construction, there never seemed to be anyone working at all.  It is now over a month into the school year, and there is still no new entrance or extended cafeteria in sight, only the ill effects and barriers of the construction. 

Since the main entrance doors are unusable, student traffic has been diverted to alternate doorways.  In Sept., students were instructed to use specific doors, in an effort to distribute the number of people traveling through each entry point.  However, these instructions seemed to be merely a suggestion and students have taken to using whichever doors seemed most convenient.  During off periods or at the end of the day, almost all students exit through the doors to the main stairwell.  This causes traffic in the stairwells and hallways surrounding these doors, closely packing students as they shove their way to the exits.

In a normal year, this overcrowding would not be a serious issue, only something mildly annoying.  However, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the congestion does not allow for proper social distancing.  Although the school continues to encourage students to keep their masks on, however, many students do not comply and continue to wear their masks below their nose or not at all.  This problem is especially prevalent in the hallways because teachers are not always present to enforce correct mask wearing.  Combining the lack of distance between students with improper masking,  a dangerous situation forms.  Luckily, Schreiber has avoided many viral outbreaks, but cold and flu season are upon us which may lead to a flow of germs.

Another negative impact of the ongoing construction is the traffic flow in the Schreiber circle.  This is particularly intrusive at drop-off and dismissal times when Campus Drive has already reached its physical capacities.  Introducing a tractor trailer, additional traffic cones, and barricades to the mix is a recipe for clogged pavement and almost unbearable wait times for parents, students, and school staff. 

“I got stuck behind a giant tractor trailer in the Schreiber parking lot that could not navigate around the drop-off traffic due to the construction,” said a parent of a Schreiber junior. 

It was not necessary to redo the front of the school as it caused many problems.  These issues cause more harm than good and do not seem to be vanishing anytime soon.