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Bond update

Patrick Jordan & Mahnoor Rauf & Jenna Norgrove, Staff Writers

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One brisk autumn morning, junior Madelyn Arsenault arrives at RHS a little later than usual. She finds herself surrounded by underclassmen frantically searching for a parking spot outside of the Senior Lot. Arsenault’s face falls as she realizes that the five minute walk from the Overflow Lot to her first hour class will make her late. This is unfortunately one of the downsides to the ongoing construction occurring on school grounds.

The final product of the construction will be a great addition for the students and staff at Rochester. Nevertheless, while the construction is still going on, there are bound to be some inconveniences throughout the school day. Arsenault elaborates on this.

“While I am excited for a newer football stadium and other improvements made from the bond, it can be frustrating to adapt to the restrictions we now have because of the construction,” Arsenault said. “I have to park in the overflow lot even though I’m a junior and it’s annoying because sophomores are supposed to park there. It’s just a difficult situation because finding a good parking spot is really stressful in the morning because it takes a long time and I risk being late.”

Though dealing with construction can cause frustrations, , junior Luke Kastran is eager for the new developments.

It’ll be more convenient because we’ll have more parking spaces and a football field,” Kastran said. “We’ll also have a new track and we’ll have home track meets now, so that’s pretty cool.”

However, Kastran has also experienced some changes in order to adjust to the construction.

“I play soccer and I don’t have a home game this year at Rochester High School, which is upsetting,” Kastran said. “Mostly, we practice at Adams High School or the upper fields [of Rochester].”

Kastran further explains how the construction affects his practices.

 “Our practices are late and I’ve not been home before 10 p.m. on a school night this year. We have late practices because we don’t have a home field,” Kastran said. “Normally, practice will be from 7-9 p.m., but now it’s from 8-10 p.m. because the other fields are in use until then.”

Technology Facilitator Karen Carl has a more positive look on the bond.

“Other than the temporary inconvenience of the construction itself, I see no downsides.” Mrs. Carl said. “This construction is a much needed improvement to the oldest high school building in the district.”

Mrs. Carl is especially looking forward to the updates being made to the auditorium.

Having a daughter involved in Theatre, I am most excited about the auditorium lobby and Theatre practice space improvements,” Mrs. Carl said. “It is kind of bittersweet for me, because she is a senior this year, so she will never be able to enjoy the improved spaces.”

Senior Ari Patterson can relate to Mrs. Carl’s daughter, as he is also graduating this year.

“As a senior, I won’t be here to enjoy the new stadium or new everything,” Patterson said. “I don’t get to play on the field, I can’t have a senior homecoming game here or a senior game here. Positively, though, we get a new stadium, which will be pretty cool to look at when I drive by next year after I graduate.”

Like Mrs. Carl, Junior Eileen Brennan is happy about the updates coming to the auditorium.

”I’m on lights crew [for the musical], so we’re getting a lot of new lights and a new light board. It’s really exciting because we have more opportunities to do new things and our job will be easier,” Brennan said. “[The auditorium lobby] will have more handicap accessibility for handicap students.”

Principal Neil DeLuca is also enthusiastic for changes in the arts department.

“We’ve never had a black-box behind a theater,” Mr. Deluca said. “[It’s] a huge room that mimics a stage, that’s where they will have a theater class and dance team rehearsals. That’s another area we’ve added for fine arts.”

Where is the bond money going exactly? According to Mr. DeLuca, thousands of dollars are going into improving the layout of the media center, athletic facilities, handicap accessible entrances, classroom technology and many other infrastructure needs.  

Deluca believes one of the major new developments to the school will be the football stadium.

“The first area that needs to be redone is the athletic structure because there was broken concrete and stuff was falling from the bleachers,”  Mr. DeLuca said.I don’t like that the stands were built on a hill because dirt and water would fall off; all the erosion would destroy the bleachers. We decided to excavate the hill [and rebuild the bleachers so] there will be a tunnel going through the middle [and] students can enter under the bleachers.”

Overall, Mr. DeLuca feels that this bond was much needed.

“We have a strategic plan–the vision and goal of the district in 10 years–and we realized we were lacking in the technology department,” Mr. DeLuca said. “We’re changing the building because we don’t have enough collaborative space for students and teachers. The goal is for students to be talking one-on-one outside of a classroom setting. The computer lab in the media center will disappear and there’ll be soft seating that leads to the mall. The media center will be inside and outside the mall–more service oriented for the kids. Rochester High School sometimes feels really institutionalized and we want to change that. We want to treat you guys more like adults.”

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Bond update