Published on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 by Danica Mendes
Students returned to campus this year noticing several big changes including a new secure single entrance to campus, a new dining area, and a new press box. These construction projects were funded by a bond passed a year and a half ago and have helped Bryan High in regards to both safety and functionality.
“There were several things that I felt were needed on campus in terms of security,” principal Lane Buban said. “This is a very large campus and it’s open, and when I say open, I mean that before we put in the gates random people could come on campus.”
The new entrance prevents people from walking into the building through any entrance and requires visitors to check in before they are buzzed into the building.
“We had people come into the building and not check in and then walk the halls, which was a major safety concern,” Buban said. “Now they walk in, have to check in, and then they can go to the meeting that they’re supposed to be in, the attendance office, the registrar’s office, or wherever they need to go. It is basically a checkpoint so we don’t have people walking onto our campus without checking in.”
Beyond concerns for safety, construction also focused on providing new facilities for student engagement and learning.
“The new Blue Bistro is being used for special events,” Buban said. “I would like to see it open up to teachers during lunches on Fridays and then we’ll go from there for other possibilities.”
Culinary teacher Louis Becerra believes students will be excited to come to class because of the new changes to the facility and how they will be able to work with industry standard equipment.
“I feel really good about the cafeteria because before we used to have to use the old cafeteria,” Becerra said. “Now we have a very good facility for culinary use and it’s nice for the students to do the lab and feel proud. Before we had to walk back and forth from the cafeteria to my classroom, so this is much more convenient”
Though the bistro is not currently being used for many events, it has been used for several district meals hosted by downtown personnel and will open in the future for other events.
“For now, this new cafeteria is going to be used for educational purposes,” Becerra said. “In the back is my office, then the kitchen, and in front of the kitchen is the classroom. The front is going to open as a restaurant for the faculty and staff soon.”
Students agree that the changes have been beneficial to their education by providing both a classroom environment and an enhanced cooking facility.
“[The Blue Bistro] is definitely an improvement from last year,” senior Jaycen Snook said. “I love it, it looks so nice, and I’m excited for this year. We have an actual classroom area in the cafeteria behind the class, which is nice so now we don’t have to walk anymore and lose class time to do so.”
With the expansion of the culinary program, Buban sees the changes made to the bistro as a positive improvement for the entire school.
“I’m really proud of the Blue Bistro,” Buban said. “It has been a work in progress ever since we decided to expand the culinary program. It has allowed us to expand what we offer to students as far as instruction and expands our ability to give culinary students the experience of working in a culinary restaurant.”
The athletics department also saw a major upgrade with the old press box, originally built in 1972, being torn down and replaced with a new state-of-the-art facility.
“The press box has been there since the early 70s, so it was in need of repair,” Buban said. “There were a lot of things that needed to be fixed, and the decision was made to go ahead and remove it completely and start from scratch. Before, there was no handicap access to the press box, the floor’s integrity was questionable, and there were many other things that needed to change too.”
BISD athletic director Lance Angel is proud of the completed press box and acknowledges that it was a long process, but improved the overall usefulness of Merrill Green Stadium.
“For us it was needed and we wanted to have a showcase stadium,” Angel said. “The technology we have up there now will allow us to be up-to-date for the next 10 years. The sound system and cababilities we will soon have wired mics on the field will be a great asset.”