Revamping the Commons

Construction for the new Commons will begin over spring break

Jade Buchanan-Moh

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University Prep’s plans to remodel the Commons are soon to be initiated, with the remodel process beginning over spring break.

COMMONS ENTRYWhile some students are excited about the changes, others are hesitant about the impact that the construction will have on their daily lives.

“I feel like the remodel process will really open up the space,” junior Sasha Lees said. 

According to the UPrep Magazine, the new space will open at the beginning of next school year.

Differing from Lees, junior Sam Kim sees the building update as relatively unnecessary.

“I think it’s a good idea, but I also think that we should just use the money to fix other things in the school,” Kim said. “The Commons right now is just perfectly fine the way it is.”

Assistant Head of School for Finance and Operations Susan Lansverk explained the primary reasons for choosing to remodel the Commons.

“The Commons was built for a smaller number of students. It’s one of the places that gets the most clogged up during specific times of the day,” she said. “One of the things that held us back [in our expansion process] is that the Commons — which is the heart of the campus — is too congested and not big enough.”

When planning the Commons remodel process, one of the administration’s biggest concerns was how the construction would impact students’ daily lives. In order to minimize disruptions, UPrep has scheduled the majority of its school-year Commons construction for the evening.

“Our goal is to impact programs as little as possible,” Lansverk said. “Very little [construction] will be happening during the day. It’s all going to be happening during the swing shift because we can’t have jackhammering going on while we’re trying to have school.”

Kim raised concerns about the change in lunch plans necessary to allow for renovation work. Over the course of the construction before the end of the school year, the Commons Cafe will operate out of Temple Beth Am, the synagogue next door.

The school will additionally require students to bring their own lunch on five days — between April 15–19 and on April 26 — when the Commons Cafe will not be open.

Students in general agree that they would feel more comfortable with the remodel process if the administration had provided them with a better understanding of what will be happening. So far, UPrep has displayed mock-ups of the remodeled Commons in the library so students could understand how the building will be changed.

“I think the posters [in the library] really helped, but apart from that I’m not really sure what’s happening,” Lees said. “They’ve done a good job of showing us what it’s going to be like but not really the function or why they’re doing this construction.”

Kim expressed that she feels uninformed about the construction process.

“I have no clue what’s happening,” Kim said. “All I heard was that it was going to start during Spring Break, and I heard that from a teacher not from anyone from the administration.”

Junior Jerome Todd wished he knew more about the new project.

“It would be a lot more beneficial if the administration had a better process of informing the student body about what the [remodel] is going to be like, because we’re the ones that are going to be the most affected by it,” Todd said.