New Buildings, new problems for teachers

Recurring AV issues top list of complaints


Fitz Vo/Bear Witness

Journeyman Juan Hernandez reinforces latches to a chemistry room fume hood.

Jayden Kim, Staff Writer

Two of the four long-awaited two-story buildings finally opened this year, and teachers’ opinions on them has been mixed. Among the chief complaints have been recur- ring issues with audio and visual technology as well as other maintenance issues.

In a survey sent out to all teachers working in the new classrooms, 25% of those who responded claimed they had mixed opinions on the overall state of the buildings, and 12.5% said that they were dissatisfied with them.

These multimillion dollar buildings were a result of more than four years of planning and construction, involving students, principals and board members visiting various school sites. The buildings were a culmination of what the pre-fab company, Pankow, had done before. The C Building had its design altered to include the main office and student service center, according to Principal Cheryl Lawton.

Despite setbacks due to the delayed removal of a pipe from PG&E last year, Lawton said the still-under-construction buildings are on schedule. “Everything’s on schedule or ahead right now for getting these last two buildings,” she said. When biology teacher Kori Reynolds first heard the announcement of the new buildings, she was excited, looking forward to the full lab and classroom style rooms. But when the year started, Reynolds was disappointed with her new classroom, and was especially frustrated with how the technology and lab weren’t set up for her when the year started.

The classrooms were smaller, and the benches were not removable, as only few classes would make full use of the labs. Groupwork is difficult, she said.

“They limit what we’re able to do with our students as far as student interactions and mobility, and different dynamics of teaching,” she stated.

One teacher wrote in the survey, “We were hurried into the new buildings before they were functional which created a lot of stress. This took away attention I would normally spend on students.”

Despite these complications, other teachers say they are enjoying the new buildings, as 62.5% of those who filled out the survey stated that they were satisfied with teaching in the classrooms.

English teacher Chelsea Follett said that she was pleased with her new classroom, noting how much she liked the view from her second floor classroom.

“You walk out the door and you see the Almaden Hills in the background,’’ she said. “And then you look out my windows and you see the tops of the trees and you see Branham Avenue… you feel a little bit elevated.”

Student opinion on the new buildings has been positive as well. In an online poll of 224 respondents, 89% said that they liked the buildings, praising the science classrooms, air conditioning, bathrooms and extra space.

“Modern facilities make me feel like my school is actually advanced,” a student wrote.