The Student Faculty Administration (SFA) will begin a trial run of a student space on Main Street in late fall, providing students with space outside of the cafeteria to socialize, according to administration and SFA members.
Senior Ian Reid, an SFA representative, began working on his “Main Street bill” at the end of the 2015-2016 school year after hearing complaints from students about a lack of social spaces in this school. “If we open up enough spaces, there’s going to be space for everyone,” Reid said.
The bill was debated and revised until it ultimately passed as a pilot for the fall during the final SFA meeting last year, according to Reid. It proposed opening Main Street and school entrances for student access during the school day.
Principal Henry Turner said, “There really aren’t any designated student space outside of rooms right now, so I think opening up Main Street will be our first opportunity to do that.”
Reid and Turner both acknowledged that the success of the pilot will require a lot of work from the SFA, administration, and student body. “It will be one of the central issues of the year for SFA,” Reid said.
According to Turner, the space will require behavioral expectations in order to succeed, and students will still not be allowed to have food outside of the cafeteria. If the pilot is successful, the SFA will work to establish the space as a permanent option for students to use during free time.
Funding provided by the PTSO will go towards purchasing furniture for Main Street, according to Turner. When the SFA reconvenes after the freshman class elections, members will discuss furniture proposals drafted by Turner and deans, or they will work to create their own.
According to Reid, the space will have seating options and tables at a minimum.
“Attendance wasn’t taken very well in the old school, so students would just go down to Main Street and cut class,” Reid said. “It also became really territorial, some groups of students would control the area.” He explained that these issues made it hard to convince some people that the bill would work, but added that “A lot of the problems in the old school aren’t really issues anymore,” he said.
The condition of Main Street in the old building caused worry, according to Turner. “Making sure that we demonstrate that we are respectful to the space is important,” he said. He added that the space will be a privilege, and that the community must debate what its designated purpose will be.
“I can imagine that there are going to be students who are going to be more comfortable if it’s more of a social space, so we want to be respectful of that, but the noise can’t be so loud that it’s disruptive,” Turner said.
The movement for an open Main Street follows the library closure in the first week of school, which caused many students to not have a place to go within this school during free blocks. Until the space opens, students may go to the cafeteria if they do not wish to study in the library and can convene on Main Street during lunch blocks.