By Catherine Festa, TSB Contributor
McKinney High students are adapting to on-site construction during school hours and changes to the building as part of an MHS improvement project. School began this week, so there was more adjustment necessary than merely waking up earlier.
Students walked into MHS on Monday with several new innovations after only three months of summer construction. They included a new entrance, renovated upstairs and downstairs hallways, a new parking lot, new gym, and new parking lots.
“The construction makes everything feel so different about the school,” senior Eryn Capretta said. “Nothing feels the same, and that kind of bums me out since it’s my senior year.”
With construction occurring during all hours of the school day (7:30 a.m-2:30 p.m.), students have had to adapt their day to the new conflicts that construction brings up.
“Traffic is insane because not only of the MHS construction, but also the construction happening on the main roads and highway of McKinney,” Capretta said. “It takes me at least two times as long to get home.”
Not only has traffic increased, but the new parking lots were built to have more spaces and smaller aisles to drive through to accommodate the growing student population.
“The new parking lot is a lot harder to get around because it is so cramped,” Capretta said. “But honestly I’m happy with what they did to the parking lots because now crazy drivers can’t speed through and almost hit another car.”
Students have also had to get used to the new and improved hallways.They include not only windows that look outside, but each classroom also has a full wall of windows that see into the hallway and into classrooms across the hall.
“The hallway looks really nice and updated, but the windows that look into the hall are so distracting,” Capretta said. “I find it hard to focus sometimes because I’ll be looking into the classroom across from me or if there is someone walking down the hall.”
For the freshmen, they don’t know what the original building looked or felt like. So not only do they have to get used to a new year at a new school, but also a building that will not be complete for more than a year.
“The construction doesn’t bother me because I wasn’t used to the `old’ McKinney High School,” freshman Aiden Mulligan said. “But I realized all the changes after the upperclassmen and teachers talked about it. Other than that, it just feels normal to me.”
In the spring of 2012, students had to deal with loud construction just outside the school’s walls. But with most interior construction not occurring again until January of 2013, no construction is really noticeable to teachers and students throughout the day.
“All that remains of the construction is the big pile of dirt that sits where the old entrance and porch used to be,” Capretta said. “The front of the building used to be so pretty but now anyone who drives by can tell that we are definitely under construction.”
Although the first week was different for most, all occupants of MHS are looking forward to what’s to come for the new and improved school.
“I do hate the construction, but I won’t let it ruin my senior year,” Capretta said. “All that matters is how great the school will look when it’s all done.”
Photos by Catherine Festa