The staff of tjTODAY had our production late night on May 8. As we discussed our pages and weighed reporting decisions, overhead, it sounded as if the ceiling was about to come down on our heads.
Shortly after the intense pounding stopped, a construction foreman walked in. He asked if anything had come through the ceiling. Luckily, our answer was no.
This is the life of our campus for the foreseeable future.
Construction will not only affect work in the classroom, but also hinder many of the major traditions that define our school culture.
The editorial board of tjTODAY has discussed the renovation with various administrators, and we are not sure that the level of disruption construction will cause is registering fully. The
responses we get are something like, “We’re aware there will be disruptions, but everyone will power through.”
But are those perfunctory assurances enough? Here are just a few of the disruptions we’re already aware of.
This year, the class councils were hit hard when many big fundraisers were no longer possible due to changes in the building. The freshman will no longer host the traditional lock-in in the building, and the juniors could not have their campout on the practice fields.
Though both classes found alternatives to these and other traditional events, the replacements have not proven to be as effective in raising revenue as the traditional events.
Out of school fundraisers are not as successful as traditional in-school events because the class councils have to pay for venues and students have to organize transportation.
With less successful fundraisers, it is possible that parents may have to shoulder the expenses through senior dues when it gets time for classes to fund prom and graduation. Timely communication between student government and administration will be vital.
School-wide events will also have to be significantly altered in coming years. Techstravaganza, the annual event that took place just last month, may have to be cut or moved to another school. Clubs with large tournaments and community events like TJMUN’s Techmun and TJ Quiz Bowl will have to co-host or host their events on other campuses.
These events are also major fundraisers for the clubs involved. Though many clubs will be able to go a year or two without revenue from these events, cutting down on or even canceling them entirely will cause financial problems down the road.
Academic Boosters tries to augment income through their own fundraising, but they can’t cover all the shortfall.
The practice fields and other areas will be sectioned off next year, meaning other activities will suffer, such as the athletics and performing arts departments. TJ Drama may have to cut down on one of their seasonal shows, for example, while certain sports will lose their practice areas during their season.
Our school community has the reputation of being resilient and creative in dealing with obstacles.
Still, administration needs to assure us they recognize how hard the renovation will hit our best efforts to keep our outstanding clubs and organizations afloat. They need to talk to
more students than just SGA officers on a regular basis.
We’re committed to weathering the renovation, but we need help.
(This article originally appeared in the May 17, 2013 print edition.)