Cost of summer changes

By Keelan Murphy
Executive In-Depth Editor
Legend has it there is a fourth floor of Prospect.
However, Oscar Acevedo, building and grounds supervisor, knows that is not the case.  There is, in fact, a roof above the third floor which cost the school $600,000 this summer to repair its eroded sections.

During summer renovations, a brand new track was laid down.

The roof repair was only one of the changes that Prospect made this summer.  Other changes include a new track, patching and repainting the tennis courts and a new concessions area in the field house foyer.
Despite the recession, schools must continue to pass health and safety inspections.  To do this, taxes collected from the District 214 community provided funds for Prospect to make the improvements, along with state requirement funds from an organization called Life Safety.
“These are not cosmetic things,” Acevedo said. “They were necessary. We’ve brought [Prospect] up to the twenty-first century which is going to benefit the future kids coming into this school.”
Specifically, the asbestos tiles in rooms 231-238 and room 120 were under inspection because, according to, “when asbestos-containing materials are damaged, microscopic fibers become airborne and can be inhaled into the lungs, where they can cause significant health problems.”
Due to these health concerns, the tiles containing asbestos at Prospect were removed and replaced this summer, costing a total of $200,000.
Sophomore Jackie Gervais acknowledges the price of the project, but knows that “if the asbestos tiles are severe to your health, then it was necessary.”
Similarly, the science labs in rooms 309, 314, 316 and 318 had not been updated since 1956.  After nearly half a century, the labs no longer provided the space that Prospect’s science department needed and were remodeled for a total of $600,000.
Science teacher Regina D’Souza had taught in the old science labs for two years and appreciates the features that the new labs have to offer, such as bright lights and ample shelf space for materials.  D’Souza claims that “it was worth every penny.”
In the old science lab, the ceiling used to leak on Mrs. D’Souza while she was teaching, and she would be covered in water and other goopy substances at the end of the day.  She said that the new rooms are “a luxury.”
“Now, even if there’s a snow storm, I know I won’t get any particles on me,” D’Souza said.

Safety is another concern for high schools that cannot be postponed until the recession ends.  The bleachers in the field house were not up to code, so they, too, required an update.  The new bleachers cost $300,000 to buy and install.
The bleachers were completely removed during the summer to be replaced with safer bleachers.
The bleachers were completely removed during the summer to be replaced with safer bleachers.

“They are going to benefit incoming students for years to come,” Acevedo said.
They can hold up to 2,013 people, who will be able to purchase snacks during games at the new concession stand in the field house foyer.  Because the football concession stand earns thousands of dollars during home games, a new concession stand has been installed for indoor games.
Math teacher Tim Will is in charge of running the concession stands, and expects roughly $500 in revenue during big field house events such as varsity basketball games.
Following suit with outdoor concessions, each club and team at Prospect will have the opportunity to work at the concession stand.  Half of the revenue earned at each event will go towards funding the club or team that volunteered.
“The idea is, if they’re going to need it anyway, let them earn it,” Will said.
The concession stand, along with the other improvements, will surely make Prospect safer, more functional and an updated school.
The Booster Club sponsored the building of a new concession stand for indoor games.
The Booster Club sponsored the building of a new concession stand for indoor games.

In one summer alone, Prospect spent over $1.8 million on school improvements.  What will next summer have in store? Sophomore Molly O’Kane has an idea.
“I feel bad that they still haven’t put in a pool…” O’Kane said.