March 18, 2018

An amazing year for the wrestling team -

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

My Experience at the Women’s March -

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

El Regreso Del Racismo -

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Parkland Shooting -

Friday, March 2, 2018

California Flu Crisis -

Friday, March 2, 2018

‘Rapping’ Up the Grammy Awards -

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

¿Cuál Será el Futuro de DACA? -

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Marcus Peters traded to the Rams -

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2018 Upcoming Movies -

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Instagram-Worthy Desserts of San Francisco -

Monday, February 26, 2018

Upcoming Season of Baseball -

Monday, February 26, 2018

Black History Month -

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Black Panther Review -

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Destructive Culture of Social Media -

Friday, February 23, 2018

Badminton season launches into action! -

Friday, February 23, 2018

LimeBike Takes Over! -

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

All Star Weekend Highlights -

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Chinese New Year Brought to SMHS -

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

San Mateo Volleyball Season Kicks Off -

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Van Jones Show:Jay-Z -

Friday, February 16, 2018

M is for Media

The east end of the campus has been dominated by a mysterious, noisy building project for the past 18 months. The curtain was drawn this school year, revealing the beautiful new M building. With a media lab, two art studios, two meeting spaces, three classrooms, a multipurpose room, a campus art gallery and offices for our computer technician, the building is a valuable addition to our campus.

Originally built as a Shops Building in the 1920s, the abandoned space was restored and modernized with an environmentally conscious attitude, utilizing natural light and ventilation, sustainable new materials, water conserving fixtures, and the reuse, conservation and restoration of existing materials. As well as being sustainable, these features are cherished by the teachers who moved into these classrooms at the end of the summer.

The new classrooms have an “industrial chic” vibe said Ms. Patsy Fergusson, yearbook and journalism advisor and English teacher. All the teachers had unanimous appreciation for the beautiful hardwood floors, spaciousness, natural lighting, high ceilings, absence of artificial light, fresh white interior and comfortable environment of the building.

“I’m excited to see how we function as a team in the improved space. The environment makes a difference in the product,” Ms. Fergusson said. English teacher Mr. David Pirie complimented his new classroom saying that it is a “functional space,” has “good character,” and is “well designed.” He really appreciates its unique layout, unlike that of a “generic classroom.”

The art teachers also have a special appreciation for the windows, natural light, and beautiful wood floors.

“The new open windows allow us to experience the world in our classrooms. Art is a part of the world and now we are able to incorporate nature in it,” Ms. Elizabeth Yapp said.

Ms. Julie Stock loves “the wood floors that have been here for many generations of Bearcats since the 1920’s. There is history, warmth and so much soul to the floors we walk on here!” In fact, Ms. Stock and Ms. Yapp, San Mateo’s art teachers, were the ones who pushed for the remodel of the building in favor of expanding the visual arts program, a program that had to limit the amount of incoming students due to limited classroom space.

“The art rooms in the C building were inadequate for the needs of the art students. The sinks were small and hard to get to, the light was poor, and the square footage was small,” said Ms. Stock. Both art teachers are very pleased with the result of the remodel.

“It’s like a college studio,” said Ms. Yapp.

“The room is spacious which makes me feel open and happy instead of boxed in and confined,” said Ms. Stock. They’re also very excited about the display room, explaining that “our students win a lot of awards and now there’s adequate space to display them.” Another plus is having enough space to incorporate clay work into San Mateo’s art curriculum, a dream that both Ms. Yapp and Ms. Stock have had since they started teaching here.

The construction process went well and was executed with great efficiency according to Principal Yvonne Shiu. The project’s noise was the only issue. “The choir class couldn’t hear themselves sing sometimes, but we got through it,” she joked.

Teachers and their students were also affected by the noise. “When my students were trying to focus on their work last year back in C111, there were many days when we heard jackhammers for hours. It was irritating, but I knew it was temporary and it would lead to a better space for the students,” Ms Stock recalled.

For most teachers, the transition to the new building was relatively smooth. But three teachers are still waiting for the arrival of new furniture, a problem that has prevented seven classes from moving into the new media lab. “Although we received a tremendous amount of help, the renovation was stressful for me because there were things out of my control like the furniture and not having everything in place in time,” Ms. Shiu said.

Teachers also said it was stressful for them to move into their new classrooms so near to the first day of school. “All of our lesson plans were in boxes and not having access to them so close to the first day was a concerning feeling,” Ms. Yapp recalled.

The teachers voiced only minor complaints concerning the new building such as the lack of air conditioning. “When it’s over 80º I’m dying,” said Mr. Pirie.

The building appeals not only to teachers, but to students as well. Students, like the teachers, admire the natural light and spacious classrooms. “It’s warm and comfortable with natural lighting. It makes you feel like you want to take a nap but it’s probably not a good idea,” said junior, Marianne Tessier. “The larger space, windows, light, and vibe make it easier to concentrate,” said Kevin Cervantes Alexis Solorio, senior.

Despite small issues getting settled, all the teachers are extremely excited for the new school year in their beautiful classrooms. Ms. Stock is “grateful to the taxpayers, the district, our principal, the architects, the construction teams, the maintenance department, our art department and the students for all their help and support in making this great renovation and improvement happen.”

Ms. Shiu hopes that “future students of San Mateo High will enjoy the building and appreciate all the hard work, time, and effort everyone has contributed to the making of this beautiful new facility.”
—Reporting by Sienna Ropert and Jessica Fetanatnia

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