North seniors face trouble adapting to a school without Main Street

By Sammie Levin
Published: September 2010

197 million dollars later, the new Newton North opened its doors this September. The new school is equipped with two theaters, a pool, a print shop, an auto body shop, two gymnasiums, a student café, and SMART boards in every classroom, but can it posses the same spirit and character ingrained in the old Newton North?
Many North seniors argue no. After growing attached to the old building over the past three years, the seniors “on the other side of Comm Ave are having trouble adapting to their new school.
When asked if she would answer questions about the new school, senior Isabel Dover passionately sais, “Yes please, I’ll tell you how much I hate it. Dover explained that though it is “nice to have windows to look out of and floors that the five second rule actually applies to, the building does not have places to hang out in between classes.
“I hardly see my friends during school¦it’s just really strange and I miss seeing people all the time, Dover said.
In the old Newton North, there was a wide hallway running from one end of the school to the other named “Main Street where students congregated between classes and during lunch.
The hallway was divided into four colors, each of which was designated to a grade as their official section to hang out in.
Like Dover, seniors Olivia Wilker and Zach Knotts also lament the absence of Main Street.
“[Main Street] was a big part of the old building; it was the ‘Ëœsocial scene.’ Everyone liked it because you could see your friends in between classes easily. Now in the new building its rare to see people in the hallway, Wilker said.
Knotts agreed, claiming, “the building is very nice but its not the same without a Main Street.
In addition to the lack of an area like Main Street, other changes in the new building are causing distress among the seniors.
“We aren’t allowed to eat anywhere besides the cafeteria, but its honestly not big enough for everyone to fit. We have been eating outside so far, but what happens when it gets cold out? Dover said.
She adds that the vast layout of the building makes it take longer to get from class to class, and that the new traffic light at the entrance causes “really bad traffic in the morning.
Wilker feels that the new building does not have the same spirit that characterized the old building. “There are no murals¦no colors, Wilker said.
Dover echoes this feeling as she thinks that “its harder to have school spirit because everyone misses the old school.
“Whenever I pictured my senior year it was always in the old building and it’s just weird having everything be different, Dover said.
Dover recognizes that the building “is great for freshman and sophomores that did not really get to experience the old building but she honestly wishes that the new school was built a year later. “I used to love school¦now I hate it. I know it’s dramatic but it’s true, Dover said.
Although many seniors are quick to point out how they miss the old building they were so fond of, they realize that the new building has a lot to offer.
Knotts, for example, talks of the benefits of the new technology.
“I’m hoping that the building will affect students’ grades in general positively because of all the new technology in the classrooms. I would say that having the SMART boards is one of the best parts of the new school, Knotts said.
Senior Nicole Goldberg commends the new facilities and cleanliness. “The outside is really beautiful and so is the new stadium where we can enjoy sporting events. Also, it’s nice to not see mold when you look up at the ceiling, Goldberg said.
Goldberg thinks that it is hard to adjust to the new school right now because everyone feels separated but she is hopeful that the students that were accustomed to the old school will get used to the new building in time.
Similarly, senior Matt Laredo expresses that he likes the new building less but thinks he will like it more by the end of the year once he is used to it.
“Lots of people are complaining, but they are being spoiled and unappreciative. It’s a really nice school and new facilities all for us, Laredo said.
Whether vehemently against the new school or hopeful of its benefits, the general consensus among the North seniors is that though $197 million is enough to buy top of the line facilities, technology, equipment, and more, it cannot buy spirit and character.
Hopefully they are able to find a new place to call Main Street in the 413,000-square-foot building over the course of the year. If they’re really desperate, they could always commute over to South and hang out in the senior commons. Hopefully the chewed-up chairs will entice them to make the journey.

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