Rows of scientific equipment line the shelves of storage rooms for chemistry classes. There is no spare space available. Photo by Griffin Schumock.

A $113 million investment later, Franklin students and staff flood back into the neighborhood after the two year stay at Marshall, anxious to see what awaited them. They barely made it into the new facility as workers raced the clock. Although Franklin students find many benefits of the campus’ new capabilities, these additions don’t come without minor problems. Each subject requires different room sizes and materials, as with each teacher requiring slight variations within those subjects. This creates the consistent problem of supply and demand. It’s difficult to decide what classes get what space, especially after finishing off the building only days before the opening of the school, but this first year will serve as a test for the years to come and allow for future adjustments to be made.

The Franklin science department contains valuable and crucial equipment for labs and demonstrations, which the move has not favored. As Franklin’s AP Chemistry teacher, Merritt Sansom explains, “I have already had to cancel one lab because of misplaced supplies. Specialized equipment is required to run some AP labs, and in some cases, we only have one piece of equipment. We’re still trying to locate some of the missing items.” Alongside the misplaced supplies, she usually spends extra time after school or during class unpacking boxes of equipment and putting them in their permanent locations. Despite these slight setbacks, the new building provides solutions to numerous past problems. Sansom touches on class arrangements: “At the Marshall campus, classes were cramped, which creates an unsafe lab environment, and could only hold 30 students. At the new Franklin campus, there is a much bigger room that can hold up to 40 students (with a lot more storage space too). Overall, the added space, new campus and features are a huge benefit.”

However, while science classes do not have to compensate for other subjects, since they don’t share classrooms, some classes still share rooms with non-related subjects. Leadership, for example, requires lots of storage for all their supplies in Franklin’s events yearlong, but Journalism, Link Crew, Yearbook, and a sophomore English class all share the classroom, creating conflict over storage space.

New music teacher Jason Owens previously taught at Madison High School but came to Franklin this year, as it is his neighborhood school. His first impressions of the community included, “I just appreciate working with students who love music and have a passion for learning.” On the topic of space, Owens says, “I wish our choral room was larger but overall, I am very happy with the Franklin space.” However, Owens has started fundraising for carpeting in the band room to reduce the noise level and improve the quality of sound. In the two years at the Marshall building, one room was used for both the choir and band classes, while the new Franklin building offers two separate rooms for the classes.

Of course there are tradeoffs to almost every situation, but this move to the new-and-improved facility is something that the community has long awaited. Students and staff have generously given time and patiently waited for the remodel, and expect it to be worth the wait. The neighborly approach to everyone’s process of adapting to the new climate vastly shows our Franklin strength as a community. Future years will only improve as the Franklin residents settle into their new home as more than a school, more than a body, but a family.

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