Fenced in: the construction, change, and confusion that has rocked PHS

Through the first week of March, construction workers at PHS erected a fence stretching from the east side of the science building to the outdoor basketball courts, disrupting existing car traffic and pedestrian flow.

Currently, students are directed to walk to the west side of the Science building turn right at the corner of the building, and meet up with the sidewalk to reach the gym entrance. The fence was constructed because the first phase of the construction plan involves building a new wing off of the existing science building and demolishing the original entrance area. According to Principal Mark Carothers, the fence was also established to limit contact between construction workers and students and to minimize the impact of the construction process on normal school operations.

The fence also cut off traffic between the classic building and the portables. Before the fence’s construction, paths to the portables were not restricted, as students could walk on either side of a black wire fence dividing the walkway. The new fence limited paths to the portables, creating a bottleneck outside the global wing between classes. During transition periods, some students vaulted over the fence while others sprinted to reach their next class on time.

“I think it makes an already long walk to the portables that much more difficult,” senior Vyoma Mehta said.

In response to this issue, Carothers requested the construction team to remove the existing black wire fence.

“I’ve been very pleased… that whenever we bring up a problem like that, the construction team takes care of it immediately,” Carothers said.

If construction remains on schedule, current fencing will likely remain for the next year and a half until the summer of 2023 when the new front entrance and academic wing will be constructed. Carothers does not expect the current fencing and parking situation to change until then.

Students and staff also expressed concerns over safety during school emergencies, such as fire drills and school shootings. School administration has released new fire protocols, now directing traffic to the parking lot and the softball field.

During the week the fence was constructed, students were confused about the correct walkway to take into the school. On Thursday, March 11, fencing limited access to the lawns but did not cut off sidewalks. By Friday, the sidewalk in the middle of the south lawn was completely cut off, forcing students to find alternate paths to the parking lot. School authorities did not provide any guidance on the correct paths to take, so students walked around the science building and cut through unfinished fencing by the portables. After school on Friday, more fencing was erected, creating even more confusion.

“They have now put up more fencing that completely blocks off the parking lot from all spring sport practice fields. I just had to walk through a whole bunch of thorns and trees just to get to my car,” senior Matthew Griffith said following baseball practice.

Frustrated with the fence, some students took matters into their own hands at lunch on Tuesday, March 8, tearing down a portion of the fence adjacent to the science building. Shouting complaints, the students kicked down a line post and bent a fence tile, allowing students to cut across the field to the parking lot during lunch and after school.