The Evanstonian

Construction modernizes ETHS

Sarah Frieman and Callie Grober

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The 94-year old building underwent construction this past summer to modernize for students; major changes include two science labs and a redesigned theory center, a new door three entryway and updates to the pool facility.

“In the 21st century, the purpose of the construction is to update and renovate some spaces to accommodate today’s teaching,” José Guerrero, Director of Capital Improvements, said.

$1.6 million in renovations to the Theory Center and two chemistry/physics classrooms started this summer after funding was approved last November to update facilities and provide additional access for all students.

“The last known renovation to the classrooms was in 1965, so there has been a need for updates for a while,” chemistry and physics teacher Mark Vondracek said. “We also have been wanting for a while to turn the Theory Center into more of an accessible place for research.”

In previous years, the Theory Center was mainly a space reserved for Chem/Phys students to go during free periods, work on homework, and hang out with other students in the program. With the new renovations, Vondracek wants the Theory Center to become more research-based and open to all students.

“The vast majority of high school students in the nation don’t have access to research opportunities,” Vondracek said. “The space will primarily be for any ETHS student who wants to conduct research.”

Each classroom has undergone a series of updates, including new plumbing and electricity, new hoods for chemistry and more open lab space. Along the walls connecting the classrooms to the Theory Center, glass is being added to open up the area.

“We will have more flexibility for projects with open lab space,” Vondracek said.

Vondracek is collaborating with professors in the area from different fields to help facilitate and to develop the student research. Students will then be able to submit their work to competitions such as the National Science Search, which rewards $250,000 to the winner.

“I think opening up the Theory Center to others in the school will have a very positive impact,” senior Chem/Phys student Nate Landolt said. “It is definitely a space that is a privilege to have access to.”

Another project is updating of the door three entryway. With the new construction, the entrance will be larger and open to the public much like doors one and two. With the growing population of students, the increase traffic to doors one and two can become “overbearing” sometimes, according to Sylvia Morgan, safety personnel.

“We’re going to have a safety office that’s gonna be there,” said Morgan. “It’s going to be beneficial.”

The door three entryway will be particularly convenient for students needing quicker access to the gym wing, according to Morgan.

“It’ll be nicer to have a ceiling over our heads if it’s raining and we’re waiting to be picked up,” said junior Eavan Norman.

The pool facilities also underwent renovations in response to the needs of students. A new heater was installed in the back pool and a new roof for the whole facility. This was to solve the issues with the back pool’s heating and frequent leaks in the roof.

“It makes the pool less stuffy and there are a lot less leaks in the roof,” said junior Mina Dizdarevic.

The construction team worked around a 10-week deadline, but some projects like the door three entryway may not be full operational until mid-September, according to Guerrero.

Contributors: Lauren Dain, Meredith Herrick, Sydney Termolen

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Construction modernizes ETHS