FEATURE STORY: Unfolding the MCSM Scaffolding

By Vivica Michel            l


The scaffolding over MCSM’s attractive entrance.


Have you ever wondered why our school has this huge contraption in front of it? Or why it has been here for so long? Where are the construction workers?  Well, I have the answers.

Ever since the scaffolding has been up, students have been curious about its purpose. It’s been up since 2013, and yet we haven’t seen a single construction worker. Where are they? Students like Kyle Cruz, senior, have been wondering, “What are they planning to do in our school? I mean it’s been there since last year I believe, and I barely see any changes.”  These are the questions that have been circulating around the school’s hallways. When I asked Cruz if the scaffolding might be affecting the school’s reputation, she wasn’t hesitant in saying “Yes.”   But she was equally quick to add that “I want the school to be safe.” As a student at Manhattan Center, I too, want our school to be safe, and now wonder if the safety of our school is in danger with the scaffolding up.


Repair work happens outside of school hours.


Other students, like Rasna Ekra, a junior, says:  “It does not affect our school’s reputation because the looks of a school shouldn’t be what makes a school’s rep, but the education that the school offers.” However, when I asked if she thinks that students from other schools who are considering coming to MCSM might be affected by the scaffolding, she responded: “I do think it affects the thinking of the students that want enter this school. For teenagers, I feel like the looks of a school are very important, since I was in the same position 3 years ago.  I also had a mindset that if a school looks nice, then it’s a good school.”  Ultimately Ekra affirmed that attractiveness is often an important factor in whether or not students gravitate towards a particular school.

There has also been speculation that the ongoing construction is the reason why the Greenhouse Club can’t use the greenhouse anymore, thereby ending the Greenhouse Club. As many continue to wonder about this our very own Assistant Principal, Ms. Winchester, together with Principal Jimenez, have all the answers. I recently interviewed them both to satisfy student curiousity related to the scaffolding.

So what is the scaffolding for? As you all may know, New York was one of the many states that was hit by Hurricane Sandy. During Hurricane Sandy, all schools were closed, due to harsh storm conditions such as heavy rain and strong winds. As a result of the storm, many schools were damaged, which led to official inspectors being sent to each school to make sure that each school building was safe enough for the students. Our school wasn’t as damaged as some schools were, nevertheless it suffered significant damage.

Our school required repairs to the spire as well as the roof itself. The construction project was supposed to last about a year, however it took longer, as more damage soon revealed itself as the project went on. Why don’t we see any construction workers? Well construction happens when all of the students have left the building. It is easier to repair the roof while the students are gone, putting them out of harm’s way. However, having construction after school makes the project take longer, as workers are given fewer hours to make the repairs.

Mr. Jimenez and Ms. Winchester were sure to make it clear that the construction project isn’t compromising students’ safety, but only strengthening it. The reconstruction project was begun right away, almost as soon as the damage was found. In cases like these, where students are put at risk, school administrators make sure that  repairs are expedited. Student safety is very important.

As for the Greenhouse Club, the scaffolding is the reason why we don’t have use of the greenhouse. The greenhouse is in an area which is needed for repair work.  However, don’t worry, as our greenhouse is expected to be back in full swing by mid-Fall of the coming school year, allowing us to resume Greenhouse Club activities.

So now the next time you look out the window at the scaffolding, remember that it is there for your safety. When going to school, no one should have to worry about falling construction materials.  School is for education. We are all here to learn, and in order to do so, we need to be in a safe environment. The scaffolding is there for everyone’s protection.

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