The unused courtyard located outside Jericho High School’s English hallway will be renovated during the summer of 2019.
According to Jericho Schools Superintendent Hank Grishman, the cost for the entire renovation is estimated to be about $800,000 and will be entirely funded by the school district’s capital reserve.
Grishman hopes that after the courtyard is renovated, it “becomes something very special.”
Students are excited about renovating the courtyard because they want a place to escape from the daily pressures of high school. Junior Lucas B. believes that the courtyard will be beneficial to students because they “need a place to not be stressed in a school that is very competitive.”
Since Jericho High School has a closed campus, there are limited spaces for students to go to get fresh air. Students have some ideas of what they would like to see in the new courtyard.
“I would love to have a porch swing installed because it is super calming and relaxing to be able to sit and talk to a friend on a swing,” Alexia K. said.
The renovated courtyard has the potential to improve Jericho High School’s overall atmosphere.
Students are not the only ones excited about the renovation. English teacher Michael Hartnett said he would definitely bring his classes outside to the courtyard.
“I would especially seek to connect the courtyard’s phenomena to canonical works of literature as the poets and novelists have long drawn on nature for inspiration,” he said.
Hartnett would enjoy seeing a variety of plant life as well as a focal point for classes to gather.
According to Science and Technology Curriculum Associate Brian Cummings, early problems of the renovation include the many rocks and the pipes and electricity beneath them.
A few years ago, students in David Dalen’s civil engineering and architecture classes drew up designs for the courtyard as a classwork assignment. Some people would like to see the courtyard turned into an outdoor classroom, which is something Cummings has also discussed with many science teachers.
This area outside Café 126 is host to students and staff who use it to eat lunch, socialize and relax during the warmer weather.
Though there are few alternative and accessible outdoor spaces available to staff and students, the area outside of Todd Benjamin’s room, Café 126, seems to be quite popular during the spring and summer months. For example, English teacher Charu Vardhan embraced the warm weather by taking her Introduction to Public Speaking class outside.
Overall, students and staff are interested and excited to see what’s to come with the new courtyard renovation. Grishman is “looking forward to the finished product being a beautiful outdoor space that will be enjoyed by students and staff.”
Those who have ideas of what could be in the courtyard or any designs of their own can email Grishman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Rachel Schreibstein is a student at Jericho High School.