While Paly has unveiled several newly constructed and remodeled buildings since 2014 such as the Media Arts Center (MAC), the Performing Arts Center (PAC), the Peery Center and the new library, others remain in desperate need of renovation. One such building is the Student Center.
PAUSD placed a $460 million bond measure on the 2018 ballot, which would give the District money to renovate and repair buildings. With this bond money, the school ought to renovate the Student Center, which appears old and outdated compared to the new, glistening buildings on campus.
During the colder months, many students prefer to spend their lunch indoors. However, students’ ability to spend lunch inside is extremely limited. The MAC is closed for lunch to prevent messes and the library does not permit food or drinks inside.
Of course, students are always given the option to eat at restaurants across the street at Town and Country. However, this can get pricey, and students that bring their own lunch cannot eat inside these establishments. Junior Ella Jones said that she and her friends often sit inside Gott’s Roadside, but the manager asks them to leave when they don’t buy any or enough food. Apart from clubs, this leaves the Student Center as one of the only buildings on or off campus that students can eat their lunch in.
However, the Student Center is often cramped with tables clumped close together and long lines of students waiting to buy food.
The Student Center currently seems dirty, loud and uninviting.
There is often litter left behind from cafeteria lunches and cramped crowds of students sitting or buying their lunch. When the lights aren’t at full brightness, the room is pretty dark due to a lack of natural lighting, but when they are, it’s blinding and artificial.
The Student Center should be renovated to provide students with a more spacious and welcoming area to spend their lunch.
PAUSD Nutrition Services Director Alva Spence and Paly food service worker Melanie Gomez spoke to members of the Paly Associated Student Body (ASB) on Nov. 18 about a possible renovation of the Student Center, which would include new furniture, decorations, vending machines, menu items and more. Spence and Gomez proposed alterations to improve the overall aesthetic of the Student Center, such as napping pods, more natural lighting, new chairs with cushions, more work areas with outlets and arcade games for students. They not only hope to remodel the building itself, but also alter the cafeteria system to be more efficient and enjoyable for students. Additionally, they proposed implementing an order-in-advance system that could possibly take credit cards and a self-checkout system to minimize lines.
These changes would be extremely beneficial and would make the Student Center a nicer, more inviting place for students to spend time. According to ASB Secretary Charlize Nguyen, who attended the meeting with Spence and Gomez, the Student Center has lots of potential but is currently very underutilized. It should be refurbished or redesigned in order for more people to spend time in it, especially on a rainy or cold day.
While students can eat indoors if they’re a part of a club or a teacher opens up their classroom for them, a renovated Student Center would result in many benefits that classrooms don’t offer.
Incorporating the napping pods proposed by Spence and Gomez would make the space a great place to relax in between classes — there aren’t any spaces on campus designed for the sole purpose of allowing students to peacefully nap.
Additionally, the installation of arcade games for student use would allow students to kick back and relax, a contrast to the stress of school.
Along with providing students a nice place to eat lunch indoors, the Student Center can also function as a place for students to wind down.