A new building is currently being constructed along the south side of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s campus, parallel to the Sawgrass Expressway. This building will hold 30 classrooms and contain advanced security features, such as controlled access points. The building is set to be completed by August 2020 for the start of the next school year.
The need for this new building arose when the 30 classrooms in the 1200 building could no longer be utilized. Portables are temporarily located on the basketball courts, but the new structure offers a more long term solution.
One request that many students and teachers had when they were informed that a new building was being built was that it includes a bridge connecting it to the rest of the campus. This is a feature that the 1200 building did not contain, and many felt it would be beneficial.
In a survey of 381 students at MSD, 42.7% said they thought the buildings should be connected, 35.4% said the two buildings should not be connected and 21.7% were indifferent about the construction of the bridge.
“I agree with the 42.7% of students who say the buildings should be connected,” senior Justin Richard said. “It makes it seem like the new building is actually a part of our campus and [would] be more convenient for students who will have classes in that building.”
The building has been under construction since the summer of 2019 and the foundation and shell of the structure, along with the bridge connecting it to the 900 building, were recently completed.
“[The building is being connected to the 900 building because] it provides easy access and connects all of [MSD’s] buildings. It follows the flow and construction of our existing buildings,” principal Michelle Kefford said.
Although the new building will be a positive addition to campus, its construction has proven to be a distraction. In the same survey of 381 students, 54% said the noises from the construction are distracting during school hours.
“The construction can sometimes be loud and annoying when I’m in the 900 building,” senior Krystina Masihy said. “While taking tests or even notes, I can hear banging which catches my attention and ultimately distracts me from what I’m doing.”
In spite of the fact that the construction can be noisy, many teachers feel that it will be well worth the disturbance since they will obtain permanent classrooms. Spanish teacher Josefina Heerdegen, taught her students in the 1200 building prior to the shooting on Feb. 14, 2018 and is excited about the fresh start that the new building will offer.
“It will be nice for the students and teachers to have a new class environment where we can make new and good memories,” Heerdegen said.
Students can expect to have classes in this new structure beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.
This story was originally published in the March 2020 Eagle Eye print edition.