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Major changes lead to major benefits

Many+offices+in+the+Kolbe+Center+and+USDHS+Library+have+been+repurposed%2C+including+the+counseling+office+pictured+above%2C+which+will+serve+as+the+new+business+office.%0A
Many offices in the Kolbe Center and USDHS Library have been repurposed, including the counseling office pictured above, which will serve as the new business office.

Many offices in the Kolbe Center and USDHS Library have been repurposed, including the counseling office pictured above, which will serve as the new business office.

Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey

Many offices in the Kolbe Center and USDHS Library have been repurposed, including the counseling office pictured above, which will serve as the new business office.

Matt Bailey, News Editor

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Almost every year, the order of the book shelves and tables in the USDHS Library shifts around to a different setup, creating a new environment for students to study and to work. But if it seems as if the layout of the library has changed considerably the past few months, that is because there is a major change taking place that is meant to greatly benefit the student body.

“The library next year will become the academic center,” Cathedral Catholic High School Principal Mr. Kevin Calkins said. “And the reason that we made that change is because we wanted that space to be more usable. We want to change the culture in the library from a place where people pretty much just hang out to a place where learning and things academic happen.”

The entire counseling department relocated from the Kolbe Center to the library two weeks ago for the purpose of setting up offices that are more accessible to students. In turn, the advancement team members, who were originally set up in the library, were moved to the Kolbe Center.

According to CCHS President Mr. Stevan Laaperi, the remodeling effort included adding windows to the interior doors of the Kolbe Center, repurposing a workroom into offices, and turning the study hall and National Honor Society tutoring center in the library into four new offices for counselors.

“Remodeling went really well,” Mr. Laaperi said. “We’ve been at it since probably the last week of April, and it’s pretty much complete except for little touches like a little bit of patching around the window in the hallway [of the Kolbe Center] and finishing the door windows that we want to do. Everything will be complete by the beginning of the third week of June.

“Everybody will be in the places they need to be.”

This project marked a big change for CCHS because normally past construction on campus went through Aramark, a multinational construction company, but faculty members, including custodial and maintenance staff, were used for remodeling. The cost of remodeling was relatively minimal because of this usage of staff members.

Mr. Laaperi and Mr. Calkins discussed plans in September to reorganize offices in the library and Kolbe Center. Several months of brainstorming were used to perfect and develop the plans. From there, administration members discussed plans for about a month and several strategic planning committees were developed, including a library committee that was comprised of faculty members. The plans were finalized after student opinions were taken into consideration.

“All of the business office staff are moving into what is the guidance suite right now,” Mr. Calkins said. “And then the east side of the Kolbe Center is moving over to where Mr Laaperi, Mr. Trunzo, and Ms. Tysor are. They are all moving over here along with other advancement staff. The reason all of that happened is because we wanted to create an organizational work environment where people work closer together.”

Not only will this change bring counselors and other key faculty members closer to students, but administration members also will work closer together in a more organized fashion. Many faculty and administration teams originally were spread out in a way that prevented efficient collaboration.

For instance, Mr. Laaperi’s team was spread out in three different locations. When Mr. Laaperi first arrived at CCHS, the advancement team only consisted of the CCHS president, director of development, director of activities, and a fundraising effort. Over time, as more staff members were added to the advancement team, people became dispersed.

The remodeling of the library and Kolbe Center fixes this situation.

“All counseling, including their director of wellness and counseling Mrs. Ashley Bascom, are in one location,” Mr. Laaperi said. “It’s going to be more efficient. We didn’t expect it to happen as quickly as it did, but it’s working out well.”

So, what are some specific ways students benefit from this change?

“When we were over in the Kolbe Center, it had to be very deliberate to come in to see counselors, where in the academic center, students come in daily, so I hope that makes more of an interaction between counselors and students, and instead of a less formal interaction, a more comfortable interaction,” Ms. Bascom said. “How do we put the right people closer to the students? We’re trying to bring counselors closer to the students and make it an easy access point on campus.

“There literally isn’t a more central place on campus than the library.”

By shifting the library to a more academic setting, Mr. Laaperi realizes students will need a social place to come together. There are currently several ideas being passed around, including using the theater for social time as long as there is someone available for supervision.

Another concern is that the creation of the four new offices where the study hall used to be will eliminate space for NHS tutors to work. However, finding space for NHS tutors is a relatively simple task. The learning center or a classroom could be utilized for NHS tutoring center, Mr. Laaperi said.

Although remodeling in the Kolbe Center and the library has since ended, faculty and administration members will spend the summer setting up offices. Mrs. Bascom is particularly excited about setting up her office over the summer where the alumni room used to be because once her office is set up, she feels she will be prepared and strong for the upcoming school year.

“Change is always hard,” Mr. Calkins said. “People can be attached to work spaces and I appreciate that, but this is what is best for the school and the students. The hardest part is the actual change.

“Once you get working and in your spaces, it’s fine.”

Mr. Laaperi would like to thank everyone for being patient in terms of having the remodeling underway during the end of the school year.

“Ideally, it would’ve been done during the summer, but that would’ve put us behind,” Mr. Laaperi said. “We hope that we haven’t been obtrusive or made too much noise or too much trouble for people.

“We really want students to be the center of our attention. Hopefully, it has gone well for people.”

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The School Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School
Major changes lead to major benefits