“Country Day Bathrooms are Washed” by Claire Gemmell

EDITORIAL: Country Day’s infrastructure deters education

Sacramento Country Day boasts an incredibly strong educational experience, giving high school, middle school and lower school students amazing opportunities for academic, athletic and artistic excellence.

However, several of Country Day’s buildings are too old and too small to help enrich student education, such as the art room, the multi-purpose room, commonly known as the MP room, the school kitchen and the high school girl’s bathroom.

To senior art student Mia Crowder, the art room, the oldest building on the campus, lacks adequate space for all students.

“I know a lot of people take art and it can get really crowded in there,” she said.

Crowder said the different sized projects and art tools in the art room limit the availability of space in the room.

Senior Pax Graham also said the lack of space does not encourage art students to pursue courses like AP Art and Design, not providing students enough space to work on projects.

Another issue with the art room is its outback, an outdoors extension of the art room dedicated to ceramics. 

Because all ceramics-related art is done outside, the clay is exposed to environmental conditions, such as the rain, the heat and the cold, potentially damaging the art. 

Additionally, the outback is considerably dusty, providing an unappealing  work environment.

High school and middle school art teacher Andy Cunningham said the conditions of the outback restrict the art education of his students.

“The space is exposed to the elements of any weather, which makes it difficult to work in the winter, late spring and early fall,” Cuningham said.

The art room and ceramics outback clearly needs to be improved.

However, tearing down and redesigning a new art room will take significant amounts of time, leaving some art students without a classroom altogether for a significant period of time.

Unfortunately the quality of the art classes would temporarily decline because of the lack of a proper classroom during the new classroom construction period.

This begs the question, is it worth it to temporarily slow the education of our students to enhance their education in the following years?

To Cunningham, it’s worth it.

“That’s all you can do. You can’t drive the kids to a different space or rent a space,” he said.

The MP room also faces similar challenges as the home of the drama, band and garage band programs.

Although these programs don’t occur at the same time, they do limit how these programs use their space.

Drama teacher Jane McGinnes said her drama set pieces were designed to avoid conflict with the other programs sharing the MP room.

“If I wanted to build a big set, then it has to be moveable because the band is also working here,” she said. “There’s a lot of compromise to share this space.”

The MP room also lacks resources to support these programs.

Drama and garage band senior Harper Livesey said a bigger stage and a taller roof would transform the stage, providing room for large set pieces and large numbers of actors on the stage.

Additionally, several aspects of the room are outdated and deteriorating, such as the kitchen and the backstage drama room.

The entire MP room needs to be improved, Livesey said.

“All the facilities we have in that room are outdated. The backstage room is falling apart. The kitchen is old and has a pilot light, which is a fire hazard,” Livesey said.

“Everything is just old. Everything needs to be  revamped,” she said.

The high school girls’ bathroom also lacks enough stalls to properly accommodate the female student body.

Of the two sinks and three stalls in the high school girls’ bathroom, one sink and one toilet in the bathroom are malfunctional, said Livesey.

 “There’s one toilet that doesn’t flush very well. It’s very scary. No one really uses that one. There’s zero water pressure in the sink. Water barely trickles out. There’s always one line for one sink,” she said.

This has the butterfly effect of slowing down students during passing periods, causing students to be late to class and taking precious time away from their education.

Country Day’s facilities were originally intended for a much smaller population. As the overall school population increases, it’s only natural that the facilities should grow to accommodate the new population.

According to the CavNet directory page, the class of 2024 has 39 students, the class of 2025 has 45 students, the class of 2026 has 48 students and the class of 2027 has 36 students.

In comparison, the class of 2023 had 35, the class of 2022 had 29, the class of 2021 had 39, and the classes of 2020 had 31, according to Amy Wells, director of annual giving and the alumni coordinator.

In the span of a few years, Country Day’s total high school population has increased by 35 students.

The large population may be straining the bathroom resources, Thomsen said.

According to senior Grace Zhao, the size of the high school girls’ bathrooms is concerning.

Zhao believes Country Day’s facilities should increase to adapt to the larger student population.

Additionally, Country Day’s lunch tables are fully exposed to the weather, limiting students’ options to eat during rainy days.

Although there are spaces like the library and classrooms available to students during lunch periods on rainy days, added shelter would be appreciated.

One possibility is adding umbrellas to the lunch tables in the high school quad, similar to how the garden’s umbrellas protect the tables from the weather.

Providing designated places, like umbrellas on tables, for students to go to on rainy days would benefit all students, Zhao said.

Head of School Lee Thomsen said the school is already taking action to address some of these concerns. 

Right now, Country Day is in the process of designing a new building, replacing the MP room and the L building, which encapsulate the art and middle school science rooms.

The plans for the new building  would give significant space to both the drama, band and art programs, allowing each program to have its own room,  Thomsen said.

Thomsen said the rooms the teachers will be able to provide input to the design process of the room to ensure the building properly meets their needs.

According to Thomsen, one of the school’s priorities in the following years is redesigning the L building and the MP room.

Additionally, the new building will have a working kitchen with adept resources. This kitchen will also serve as a cafeteria. 

“The goal of the kitchen is to make a functional cooking and serving kitchen. We could have a lunch program that would serve out of there, so we could make food on campus to replace the lunch program that we already have,” he said.

According to Thomsen, these buildings will ideally be complete in the next few years and the quality of the buildings will depend on money gained from school fundraisers.

These additions are necessary to enriching Country Day education and adapt to an expanding student population. 

Ishaan Sekhon

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