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Get around Academy to See What’s New

The end of summer has come all too quickly, but it has come with its perks. This year, many new changes await the students of Columbus Academy, with the promise of more to come.

Let’s start with the Lower School. Replacing the dark blue risers and photos of students from year’s past is a rainbow carpet that sweeps all the way to Mr. Cicetti’s room. The walls have also been repainted bright blue and green, and the office is now home to a sun.

Mrs. Soderberg believes the entrance to the Lower School should reflect the “playful” feel of the classrooms, so that it looks like a four-year-old belongs here,” she says.

In the Middle School, the changes are “ all about making the halls seem more homey,” says Soderberg. Its walls have been repainted a gentle khaki color, and new wooden lockers have replaced the dreary, metal stalls of the past. Instead of twisting a dial-lock around for what feels like half an hour, students now only have to punch their code into a keypad to release the magnetized doors. Every classroom has new desks and chairs, which accommodate all shapes and sizes and provide an easy way for teachers to divide students into groups.

Perhaps the most exciting new development for the school in general is the new outdoor classroom and the low ropes courses. The outdoor classroom is equipped with SmartBoard technology and outdoor picnic tables and is just a stone’s throw away from the Lower School’s story circle in the woods. “The idea is, there are  no screens. You’re outside  . . . botany, environmental science, art, writing– we don’t know yet how we are totally going to use it” explains Soderberg. This “retreat’s” functions will be up to the interpretation of the students and faculty.

The low ropes courses, located near the outdoor classroom and on the opposite side of campus in the woods across from the administration building, are meant to be used as team building activities. There is a 12-foot wall, a huge sliding see-saw, a cat’s cradle rope obstacle that allow for all kinds of different challenges meant to build bonds between the students and faculty participating in them. Although the Middle School handles the official papers for these new locations, the outdoor classroom and low ropes course are meant for all students and, perhaps, sometime in the near future, students from other schools as well.

Soderberg is always quick to point out what a beautiful campus we have and believes we can only benefit the Academy educational experience by using more of it.

Just behind the football field, another new feature is making excellent use of a space that was previously just an open field: the new Middle School playground. Complete with bright, colorful toys chosen by the Middle School Student Council, the playground is not only designed specifically for Middle School students but could also potentially become a hangout area for younger fans during football games.

Athletes have already begun to play on the new turf fields, one of which is completed and the second of which is close to being finished. These new fields were provided by generous donations and will last for 8-13 years. The excellent drainage system of the turf fields bodes well for student athletes. Soderberg is excited that the turf takes less than an hour to dry, and, therefore, can be used for practice in any weather conditions without being damaged. This means that fewer practices will be cancelled due to rain.

A mirror and bar have also been added to the Barton Room for future theatre dance rehearsals and a potential yoga class. About all the small changes made to the campus over this past summer,  Soderberg says, “In the abstract it all sounds odd, but when you see it and get an understanding of it, it makes sense.”

There is only one 2014-2015 school year. Let’s make it a good one.

Written by Sarah Fornshell’15 and Kendall Silwonuk’15


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