Out with the Old and in with the New: South High Renovations

By Grace Fong

South High has been undergoing construction since the start of the summer. Because various areas of the school are being renovated, students and teachers returned to some surprises in September. The questions that most people have been asking: “Where is the library?” and “Why doesn’t the air conditioning work?” 

Although some students believed that there was no library when school first started, most people now know that it has been temporarily relocated to the GP Room. Because the GP room is now the makeshift library, classes such as Public Speaking, Improv, and Theatre History have been relocated to the auxiliary gym next to the West Gym.

The library renovation, the most ambitious aspect of the South High construction project, was initially scheduled to be completed by the time school started in September. However, the scale of the project has required some additional time to complete. According to those who have seen the plans, the finished product will be worth waiting for. Assistant Principal Mr. John Duggan said the library is receiving a “million-dollar upgrade.” The renovations include an audio-visual lab, a makerspace area, and a mindfulness center. The main area of the library has been organized into three sections. The first section, that closest to the front entrance, will be a place where students can enjoy a light snack while doing their homework. The second section is a no-food zone where students can chat quietly and collaborate. The third section will be for quiet studying.

Although the weather is now turning cool enough that most people do not miss the air conditioning, its absence was the most pressing concern for students and staff at the beginning of September. Questions like “Why don’t we have AC?” and “When is it going to be fixed?” were heard more frequently than “When is this due?” and “Is this for a grade?” The answers to these questions can be found on the roof.

Renovation of the roofs started over the summer. Because most of the AC units in the building are located on the roof, these had to be turned off when construction began. Roof replacement is currently ongoing, so we still do not know with certainty when these units will be fully functional. The good news for now is that we probably won’t need AC until the weather warms up again in the spring.

The school community can also expect some construction interference when window replacement begins. The current windows are 63 years old, so all windows will be replaced with energy efficient triple pane windows. This will likely improve the school’s insulation system, thereby saving money on cooling and heating costs. Since construction for the windows is slated to start in November, most classes will have to relocate temporarily while the windows in their rooms are being replaced. Once the window replacement is finished, most classrooms that previously did not have central air conditioning can look forward to having window units installed.

Some members of the school community have raised concerns about air quality during construction. However, an environmental testing company has tested air samples to guarantee the air is safe to breathe.

Despite the temporary inconveniences the construction may have caused, most look forward to the results of the renovations. 

Photo by Casey Choung