Construction on the Back Lawn Slowly Wraps Up

After three long years of dumpsters, massive shipping containers and construction equipment, it is all finally coming to an end. According to Marci Tuzinsky, the dean of CHS, the school is in the final process of construction; we are just waiting for the grass on the back lawn to regrow and for the rest of the heat, air venting and cooling (HVAC) to work.

The back lawn is a pivotal part of the culture at Community High School. Before construction, many students ate with their friends on the grass. CHS senior Zoë Simmons had many fond memories from freshman year on the back lawn.

“The thing about the back lawn is [the social scene] could be very organic,” Simmons said. “You could almost migrate between groups for lunch, which I think fostered a very friendly relationship between lots of different students.”

With the recent reseeding of the lawn, this tradition could be coming back in the fall of 2023, but with the inconsistent weather, Tuzinsky is unsure when the regrowth of the grass could happen before then. Not only does the dean not know but neither do the construction workers. Any estimate that has been given might be incorrect thus leaving the timeline for the grass regrowth uncertain.

The construction project was started after a bond on Nov. 5, 2019, was passed, which gave money to all of the Ann Arbor Public Schools to upgrade their facilities. Each school in the district was assessed to see which needed the most work and prioritized accordingly. It was soon decided Community High School would be a top priority with many necessities needed within the building due to the school being about 100 years old.

“’Whenever they go into all the classrooms across the district, there are some things [that are] going to be uniform,” Tuzinsky said. “Evey [school in the district is] going to have this new lighting, that is supposed to be better for your eyes, different settings for all sorts to have air conditioning. But we’re also having this great airflow and we all have a whole new fire suppression system for fire alarms.”

Whilst all the rooms now have HVAC, not all of them are working yet. All of the third-floor rooms are working, but the second and first-floor rooms are not online. Construction should be wrapped up soon as CHS is now only waiting for a state inspection to turn them on. As CHS finishes up the final details of construction, Simmons thinks it is beginning to feel like students and staff are getting their school back.