The student news site of Saint Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland

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The St. Andrew’s Student Center

Photo by Eric Vacchio

Photo by Eric Vacchio

Marcus Mahtemework and Jack Helmanis, Staff Writers

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Recently, we had the privilege of interviewing our head of school, Mr. Kosasky, about the progress of our upcoming Student Center. We got to ask questions pertaining to the scheduling, the mood behind it, as well as the physical layout of the establishment. The new Student Center is a 17 million dollar investment that will provide the members of our community with a new hub around which student life will revolve. It will be a place where one can hang out during free periods and breaks, a place where the entire school can gather for community events, and a place where people have the opportunity to enjoy food.

Through our discussion with Mr. Kosasky we were given a better idea of what the layout of the Student Center. When you first enter, on the left will be a Fitness Center which will be about double the size of the current weight room, and next to it a cafe for student and adult use. In the middle will be the Commons. According to Mr. Kosasky, “[The Commons] will be a nice large area with comfortable seating. You will be able to look down into both gyms. There will be four gallery spaces around the walls for student artwork.” Three-dimensional work can also be displayed in the middle of the Commons, which will have a lot of natural light from the many windows and three large skylights in the roof. There will be two gyms: the fully renovated Holden Court and a new double gymasium that can host two full-court volleyball or basketball practices and seat 600-650 people for games, Chapel, or other events. New research and office space for the CTTL will be near the front of the building, and a large new dance studio, also usable for wrestling practice and workshops, will be on the right side of the main floor. A set of steps go down below in the middle and lead to an Athletic Hall of Fame to honor the teams, individuals, and coaches who have been particularly impactful at St. Andrew’s. There will much larger space for Mr. Hurney to use to care for our student athletes, and there will be multiple sets of new locker rooms. There will also be a tunnel-like hallway through the lower level of the Student Center from the Intermediate School past both gyms to Brumbaugh Field that teams can run out of just like in the NFL or collegiate sports. The space it adds to the campus is staggering. “The whole thing will be 43,000 square feet. That is more than half the size of the main building,” Mr. Kosasky says. In back of the Student Center  there will be a new parking lot and five to seven bio-retention ponds to manage and clean storm water.

All Postoak students and faculty and staff will be able to use the building, as Mr. Kosasky explains. “I am sure that a lot of [students’] focus is on the athletics. But if you’re a dancer it is incredible for you with the dance studio you’re going to get. If you’re a fitness person the Fitness Center will be so much nicer.” Visual artists will be able to display their work in this beautiful space as well. And that is just the beginning. In the new gym we will have all school chapels, pep rallies, sports assemblies, gatherings for teachers and parents, and most students will use it for athletic practice. And even better, there will not be set restrictions for who can play or practice in the new gym – varsity, junior varsity, middle-schoolers – or so Mr. Kosasky hopes. “[Scheduling decisions] would come down more to Mr. Hightower as the Athletic Director.”

In our interview with Mr. Kosasky, he was sure to put the emphasis on the word “student” in Student Center regarding its purpose and functions. Its general purpose is to augment the overall happiness of the community and to improve programs and student life. No matter which group of students you fall under and what your interests regarding the new Student Center, Mr. Kosasky affirms that everyone has something to gain from it. There are a number of exciting ways this could be true, depending on what your interests are. Athletes obviously will get to use the new gym; artists can use the display space; dancers will have a new dance space; and students who are tired of sitting in the hall during a free period will have a café to retreat to. The multi-purposeness of the Student Center is one of its most exciting features. It will be great  to see it being collectively used by all students and as a means of featuring the talent we have at St. Andrews. The Student Center provides benefits to all members of the community and has the potential to foster positive interactions within the student body.

In conclusion, there is a lot of overall hype surrounding the new Student Center and the benefits it can bring to the everyday life of the St. Andrew’s community. We are eager to see its finished layout, the potential versatility and use of its facilities, and how major of an impact it will have on student life and student interaction. The Student Center is a major step in St. Andrews’s history and there is a lot of excitement building up behind it into next year.

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The student news site of Saint Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland