October 19th, 2007

Enterprise Bridge

Will green things grow here?

Looking over at Glenbrook North's website, they've already begun a second major expansion and reconstruction project on the campus since I left. The late 90s saw the gutting and reorganization of the A wing in the front (east) end of the building, the expansion of the B science wing, and the new cafeteria off the C wing. The early naughties brought a facelift to the student mall--the remnants of the original 1953 asphalt driveway were removed and a much prettier set of planters and concrete and brick sidwalks were built.

By the end of 2009, I think very little of the campus outside the gymnasiums will be at all familiar. The music wing will expand east into the guidance mall for new band and orchestra rooms--there will no longer be a driveway connecting the roll-up doors by the CPA foyer with SA Hall. Chorus will get the old band room, refitted of course. The old drum room becomes two health classrooms. The athletic circle drive had its parking removed a couple of years ago, and now the whole space will disappear, to become the new expanded fitness center. The weight room will move there, and they say it will be joined by cardio equipment, probably including what's been on the west balcony of the main gym since 1988. They don't say what will become of the old weight room or that balcony. (I always thought the band should sit there, playing to the whole gym instead of just the home crowd)

The biggest change is the total demolition of the F wing that has housed business and driver's ed. It will be replaced by a new two-story structure where those departments will live, plus TLS (special ed) and a new "secure" campus entry atrium. We've never had a proper "main entrance". The doors by the bus driveway face Shermer Road and were always the "front doors" (even after the new library expanded into that space) but any kind of security or reception office was deep in the building. It always felt like we were telling people we were hiding, hoping they'd go away. The new atrium still faces Shermer, but at a considerable setback--near the back edge of the A wing. The deans' office and attendance will move into the first floor of the new F, which is logical since they're responsible for campus security. The old deans' office in the A wing appears to become a classroom. I don't see plans for the cafe area, but the page talks about renovating the kitchens, which may be expanding into what's now the bookstore.

But what I'm most pleased by is the relocated Student Activities Office. Guidance is going to expand into SAO's space off SA Hall. What was once the faculty cafeteria (and has been a study hall for most of the last decade) will become some kind of large lounge, (perhaps an extension of SA Hall?) as well as the bookstore. The old study hall that once opened near the old attendance office and stairs down to the Little Theater becomes a new conference room and the new SAO. What's key is, they're naming this new student center for Dr. Duffy.

This is absolutely the logical place to attach his name, someplace that focuses on the students themselves, from their perspective. He was always about us--even in the ways he was about community and the larger world, that was always through us as students.

I do have to wonder, will there be something there that's green and will grow?