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The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

Windowless, auraless, swagless: CHS struggles with old infrastructure

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Sure, brick walls were a cool concept in 7000 B.C.E., back when ancient Mesopotamians realized that using mammoth ribs to build walls wasn’t all that effective. Unfortunately, they’re losing a bit of luster in the eyes of CHS students when they are forced to stare at them for hours on end due to the puzzling lack of windows in the school’s classrooms.

CHS is a rather old building—celebrating its fiftieth anniversary just last year—and the last time the building was renovated was the early 1990s. The renovations mostly aimed to undo the open classroom concept that the school had incorporated in its original construction. This concept, which became hugely popular in the 1970s, was aimed at improving communication between students and teachers, but it was quickly found to be ineffective and incredibly distracting for everyone.

But the renovations didn’t cover the lack of windows—which stinks.

The only possible solution to this window crisis is—well, another renovation. The average public school building is supposed to be renovated every 30 years, since rapid deterioration from the structure starts 40 years in. This year will mark CHS’ 31st year since its last renovation, but surprisingly, CHS isn’t even on the FCPS queue for funded renovations. This queue dates back to 2008 and features schools that have been awaiting renovations for years, meaning that CHS will very likely have to wait a long time for a full renovation.

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But there is a silver lining: FCPS has their usual critical infrastructure budget in the 2023 budget review, and it is used to fund the prevention of major infrastructural issues, similar to what occurred earlier this year, when a roof near the main staircase hallway began leaking. Now, a lack of windows doesn’t exactly qualify as a “significant health and safety hazard” on the surface, but there actually are a number of security, wellbeing and performance issues that come with this peculiar characteristic of our school.

Natural light provides many psychological and physical benefits to people, especially kids. For example, Seasonal Affective Disorders, which affect 10 to 20

Math teacher Annie Chong’s room (259) is part of the few classrooms in CHS to include a window—with the marvelous view of Stringfellow Road.

% of children in the US, can be aggravated by the lack of natural light coming into the classroom. Sleep schedules, which also play a big part in the well-being of students, are also affected by the amount of natural light students get. Furthermore, studies showed a 21% improvement in standardized test scores in students with more access to natural light. And arguably the most important factor is that windows can serve as another potential exit in a worst-case scenario like a shooting or a fire.

CHS already has gone through some major construction this year, with lockers in major portions of the school being removed to make more space in the hallways. The lack of windows is one of the biggest grievances for both students and teachers, and as FCPS testing performance concerns and mental health issues rise, it may be time to vamp up the school.

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Cedric Tchommo
Cedric Tchommo, Copy Editor
Cedric "Barack" Tchommo is a sophomore in his second year with The Purple Tide. Other than revolutionizing the entire concept of the newspaper industry and practically splitting the fabric of reality with every article he writes, he enjoys playing tennis and basketball as well as reading and writing in his spare time.
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