No Space in School for Students


Kate Loughran, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Senior

Each year, the number of students in the high school increases. The grades continue to get larger, yet the space in PMHS remains constant. The past two years especially have demonstrated this with COVID protocols causing a strain on spacing students due to social distancing. At the beginning of this year, the construction on the common area in front of the building made the difficult spacing situation even worse. There is hardly enough space for high school students to eat lunch, and have spaces to spend free periods. 

The middle school population is another problem for the space in the school for high schoolers. During periods 4, 5, and 6, which are all popular lunch times for high school students, middle school students take up the cafeteria space, except for one small room reserved for high schoolers.  On top of this, these cafeteria spaces no longer contain large tables, and instead have individual desks for students, which are simply not how most students want to spend their minimal free time. The Commons used to be a space for student lounging, working, eating, and gathering, but this year’s construction in both upper and lower commons has closed this space off completely, taking away more space from students. 

I have found myself sitting in my car with friends during my lunch period, going to friends’ houses, and wandering the halls with my friends to find space to spend our free periods. When the weather turns bad, this will especially be a problem. When the weather is nice, students can sit outside in the courtyard, yet when it is raining, or in the coming cold winter months, all students will be forced to be inside. Even when the courtyard is usable, there are a limited number of tables for high school students. The tables under the tent on the field are designated for middle schoolers during their recess periods, limiting the number of tables to 6 outside. Students are eating in hallways, in gyms, and in stairwells, especially during 4, 5, and 6 when middle schoolers occupy the majority of the cafeteria. The blue gym has been used in the past year for middle school lunch, and is still used for this, taking away a whole gym from physical education classes. Even in my gym class, when it began to rain, the middle schoolers were assigned to sit in the high school gym, combining my gym class with the sixth grade population. 

This has been an issue which has not been addressed, despite the rising number of students each year. While the school now grants all four grades the ability to leave campus during free and lunch periods, this is merely a diversion of the problem, not a solution. There have recently been acts of vandalism and littering in Wolf’s Lane Park, which Mr. Berkowitz expressed in an email to the Pelham community the week of October 7. Allowing freshmen to come and go as they please may not be the administration’s best idea. Students are coming to school to be in school, and should be granted space to spend their time, instead of being told that they can leave campus because there is no room for them. 

It is vital to re-open the commons once construction halts, and for administrators to address the issue at hand. This predicament will become even more apparent as the weather turns colder, and students will feel less inclined to leave campus to get food or sit outside in the courtyard.