Common space areas need reimagining

Arianna Vargas, Staff Writer


Newly transformed office spaces in the third and fourth floor used to be spaces for students to eat due to other spaces like the cafeteria being full. However, now that these spaces have been converted into offices, that leaves students with less areas to eat and in need of a solution. (Photo by Arianna Vargas)

With a new school building came the promise of common spaces, touted as one of the most exciting, innovative aspects for revitalized learning. In previous years, the common spaces were regularly used as a way to spread classes out during the pandemic. However, after restrictions were lifted, structured common space use dissipated, causing some discontent among the student body.


Newly transferred offices 

At the start of last year, the rooms on the side wall of the third and fourth floors were considered  “snack rooms” by many students. However, this year they have been turned into offices for teachers that do not have a classroom. Students have voiced their frustration over this new change. Junior Ashly Villegas-Sanchez believes these changes are inconvenient. “Turning them into offices was annoying because it was the only place where I felt comfortable eating and I could be isolated from the rest of the school while I ate,” she said. 

Because the cafeteria is always full, I agree that students should be able to eat in other spaces around the school. A possible solution to this dilemma is to leave the third floor balconies unlocked along with the fifth floor reflection garden during lunch to give students additional spaces to eat. 

Conference Rooms

Scheduled spaces, such as this third floor conference room, used to be full of students collaborating and using the provided whiteboards. However, most of the rooms are left empty this year as students are not able to access them without a teacher’s key. (Photo by Arianna Vargas)

There are four main conference rooms in the high school and all are in high demand. However, shortly after the start of the school year, most conference rooms were left locked and unavailable to students. This was frustrating because the conference rooms should be spaces where they can effectively work in big groups. Senior Noah Dinner provided his opinion on the matter. “I understand the reason behind locking them due to students breaking things. However, why have conference rooms if we can’t eat in or use them?” Dinner said. 

To help this problem I feel that conference rooms should be unlocked during Mustang Block and lunch. There could also be a QR code or a paper request sheet assigned with four to five different block times for the conference rooms. This new system would help students get a better chance at being able to use the rooms to complete group work, or as a quiet place to complete work in general.

Students recently have lost privileges to work in the halls due to the recent development in policies regarding teachers allowing their students to work in the halls and common spaces. (Photo by Arianna Vargas)]

Working in the halls 

Additionally, the policy for working in the halls has changed. Teachers have been increasingly reluctant to let students work in the hall. However, these spaces are there to be used and can help both students working in large groups and those who want to work outside of a distracting classroom. When teachers are hesitant to let students go out, the space is wasted. Another major issue with the common spaces is the amount of trash left around them. If students use them more, they may be more encouraged to keep them clean. 

A solution to this could be that teachers to allow students to work in common spaces in close proximity to the classrooms. If teachers can physically see their students, there shouldn’t be problems regarding discipline.

The common space areas are a glamorous and enjoyable addition to the school, however, restricting them makes it hard to appreciate the luxury.