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The Transformation of a Space

As Gwen Coyle shares her thoughts about the new Student Lounge, she sits in a booth across from fellow 10th grader, Elise Ortman.  The booth is now their favorite place to sit and do their homework before and after school. 

Students in the new Student Lounge

This wonderful addition to the Jr/Sr High School campus came about when principal Mr. Troy Wagner joined the Jr/Sr High School this summer. He immediately met with the 2019-20 Student Council (StuCo) students who represent the student body. He found out from Abby Antonov, StuCo School Spirit Coordinator, and Dakota Guild, StuCo Vice President, that one of the student bodies’ desires was to have a space of their own, where students could gather outside of the classroom.  Mr. Wagner went to work.  After a survey of the school, he and Superintendent Mrs. Rhonda Rogers decided that the unused home economics room combined with a smaller adjoining room could serve as a Student Lounge. 

Stripping the Home Ec room

Stripping the Home Ec room

Renovating the Home Ec Room

Building cabinet bases

With help from PCS families and Craigslist (!), Mr. Wagner was able to procure used furniture (tables, bar stools, booths, chairs) for the area.  The decision was made to move the Student Store that sold drinks and snacks during lunch and after school, into the student lounge.  Mrs. Eleanor Halsey who maintains and runs the store is happy to be in the new space.  As the drink machine always warmed up her little store she notes, “It’s a lot cooler now,” in the spacious Student Lounge.

And more students are stopping by after school to buy something before heading off to sports practice.

“I like it. Now I have a place to relax and do my homework – not at a desk.  There are couches and tables,” shares junior, Kane Mihalak after purchasing a muffin from Mrs. Halsey.  He’s headed off to football practice.

Sophomore Pamela Hotchkiss elaborates on why she loves the student lounge, “Every morning, I used to sit on the hallway floor by the lockers to do my homework. Now I have a place to sit – at a table!” 

The Student Lounge

Junior highers at the student store

While the student lounge is not available to everyone during lunch, it is open to 6th to 12th graders in the morning from 7:30 to 7:55 a.m.  After school, 9th through 12th graders can enjoy the casual atmosphere, while the junior high students (6th-8th graders) spend their time in the after school recreation room.

At lunch, the space is reserved for 11th and 12th graders.  This privilege has been embraced by the students.  The juniors and seniors who often purchase lunch off campus, from the school cafeteria, or bring their own from home, now have an inviting space to eat.  And something as seemingly insignificant as a large, readily available trash can is helping to keep the school clean.  The students have noticed!

Ortman sums up, “it’s got a feel of a mini café that is appealing to students our age, with the casual feel that encourages casual conversation. It’s not a classroom setting.”  She and Coyle agree, when they are juniors next year, they’ll be eating lunch in the Student Lounge, at “their” booth.

Coming soon: a coffee bar!  Watch out students -- you just might bump into teachers grabbing a double espresso before class!




By Grace Dugger