Over the summer, the Student Center was renovated and equipped with new leather chairs and tables, a marble floor, and an additional vending machine. When students walked into the Student Center upon returning to school their reactions were mostly positive, despite the fact that the renovations are not halfway complete yet.
The Tam High Foundation understood that, while the rest of the school had been renovated over the past four years, the Student Center had not undergone any changes.“[The Student Center renovations] have been in the works for three years,” said Assistant Principal Brian Lynch. “There has been a great deal of research from kids, staff and community members while also putting professionals into the field. They wanted to make it a more exciting place to be in; a place where kids come in during break or lunch. The tables are placed differently so there is more of a conversational feel,”
The Student Center renovation has two phases, the first of which is nearly complete. On top of the renovations students saw on the first day of school, there are now three vending machines and a foosball table.
“We are still waiting for a laptop bar, which will be along the whole back of the room under the windows and microwave counter next to the vending machines to be fabricated and installed,” said Joyce Porter, president of the Tam High Foundation. “We are also working on a high table design and the installation of a water bottle filling station.”
The Student Center will not be complete until late 2013. “Phase Two will include a sliding Nana door, which is a wall system that will open up the student center to a beautiful concrete and brick courtyard area with outdoor tables instead of the ugly asphalt,” said Porter. “We will also paint the second floor walls which we didn’t have funds for this year.”
While some students appreciated the renovations, others were concerned about the changes. “I’m disappointed the school is spending funds on beautification of the school, rather than investing in school supplies, classes, teachers and various other amenities,” senior Zaden Lipman said. “The [Tam High Foundation] is under the impression that Tam parents will be further pleased to see improvement in the school, rather than the school system, and that disturbs me.”
“I feel like the renovations are aimed for specific students,” junior Hana Dahl said. “I think it’s great it was redone, but it seems a little unnecessary. It would have been nice if they added something beneficial, like lockers.”
However, some students feel that the renovations were well worth it. “I think the division of funds in Tam is pretty even; I think the money was well spent. It looks nice,” junior Aidan Grahame said.
“I really think the improvements are great, especially the chairs,” senior Sam Gates said. “Though the Tam ‘Ts’ [on the floor] are a bit corny, it looks put together.”
Phase One was funded by the Tam High Foundation at the Tam Centennial Celebration in 2008 which, by joint agreement with the Tam Alumni Association, had to be spent on campus improvements. Those funds also paid for the tables and benches outside of the new Keyser buildings.
“It took us so long to spend the money because we had to wait until modernization was completed,” said Porter. “Phase Two will be funded completely by funds raised through the Brick Campaign as well as our spring fundraising event, TamPalooza, which will be at the Sweetwater Music Hall on May 9, 2013.”
The Brick Campaign will allow students, alumni and faculty to have an opportunity to buy personalized bricks to commemorate graduation, MCAL teams, class reunions and more. The bricks will be incorporated into the design of the courtyard.
Art, woodshop and architecture students also will add renovations to the student center. This semester, Geo Monley’s AP Architecture class is working on designs for a new high bar as their first semester project. They will make individual presentations to the Tam High Foundation board who will choose the winning design and fund the project.
“I received over 300 responses to our questionnaire last year requesting student input for the student center, what they would like to see and/or use it for,” said Porter. “We would also like to see future student work, such as murals, art installations, etcetera.”
The Tam High Foundation wanted to create a new Student Center where students could relax and do work to fully maximize its utility. “The renovated Tam campus is such a beautiful and dynamic campus but was missing a comfortable and inviting place for students to gather,” said Porter. “The student center, which has so much potential, was somewhat of an eyesore and has been under utilized in the past. Our committee thought it was important to create a nice, usable space that encourages students to stay on campus.”