School renovations continue this fall

Long riddled with dents and scratches from rifle butts and feet, the Briggs Gymnasium floor now gleams a smooth tan and displays the new Spartan logo.
The process of planning to get a new floor began last year at this time.
“We just realized the gym floor had been so worn out and it was beginning to get dangerous,” Athletic Director Peter Sawkins said. “We had players and coaches and people who use the floor identifying the fact that it was not as intact as it needed to be.”
Maintenance used to sand the floor to even it, but it had grown very thin over the years. “There were pieces of the floor boards coming up and so it was clear [the renovation] needed to get done,” Sawkins said.
The decision was a collective one. “An investment like that, a new floor, is significant,” Sawkins said, “so we needed to have the support of the administration, the principal, Mr. Roberts the Head of School, and the finance group as well as the board of directors.”
“Mr. Brown and I worked with the floor installer who was putting down the design work to sort of figure out exactly what kind of look and feel we wanted,” Sawkins said.
As they planned this, they had in mind to incorporate a new Spartan logo into the floor design. Also, the square pattern of the old floor is replaced by lighter-colored, longer stripes.
According to Facility and Safety Manager Pete Kilibarda, demolition of the old gym floor began in June. Maintenance workers removed the old floor slabs and leveled the ground underneath. The process took longer than expected.
The first event to take place on the new floor was the Middle School Open House on Sept. 5.
Another big change is the move to College Counseling; the offices shifted to the first floor, near the senior lockers. Students visiting the College Counseling offices won’t have to make the climb to the fourth floor anymore.
“We have been wanting to move down closer to students for a number of years and were finally able to make it happen,” Associate Director of College Counseling Jill Apple said.
Along with three offices and a conference room, the space has an open couch area for college representatives to meet with students and coaches.
Upper School Principal Chris Hughes was also involved in the conversation to move college counseling, wishing to “bring them more into the heart of the academic program,” he said. After looking at several possible places to move to, he and college counseling chose the area behind the senior lockers, which wasn’t being used at that time.
“We talked about the cost of redoing offices and accessibility, and being down at the senior lockers in that senior hallway made a huge amount of sense,” Hughes said.
Some students favor the change, including senior Gina Nguyen. “The obvious good thing about it is that they’re right there so if you want to ask them a quick question, you don’t have to walk all the way to the 4th floor,” she said. She also appreciates using the couches near the offices for studying.
The remodeling of the area began immediately after school ended last May. Maintenance workers tore down walls, replaced the carpet, set up new lighting, applied paint, and installed new doors. They put together furniture on the Friday before school started, and that following Monday, brought down books and materials from the old offices upstairs. “They were wonderfully committed to putting it all together,” Apple said.