Renovate Ryley

In response to Maggie Maffione’s article two weeks ago and the host of responses that followed, I would like to provide further comment on the current status of student activities available to students on weekends here at Andover. Although I feel that minor improvements could be made in the planning of events so that there is something that interests all students, Andover is still missing one key ingredient which would make for a great weekend at PA: a Student Center, or lack thereof. Granted, we do have Ryley below Commons, but all that consists of is a big-screen TV, a couple of dreadful couches, a small stage, and a few wobbly tables surrounded by uncomfortable and often warped metal chairs. You have got to be kidding me. While the school has such a large endowment, it does little to improve the current condition of its buildings. What improvements have been made this past year? A wireless connection available to students in the OWHL, and that about wraps it up. I’m sure other improvements were done, but nothing major and apparent to the student body. Ryley is in serious need of renovation. Even if such drastic measures such as renovation aren’t possible, improvements such as better quality furniture, pool or ping-pong tables, or video games other than DDR certainly are. Since the beginning, Andover and Exeter are always competing with one another. For example, as Andover was completing the Gelb Science Center in 2004, Exeter was already occupying their new building, featuring a hanging whale skeleton in the atrium. So let’s compare student centers. PEA: a student lounge with gas fireplace and comfortable chairs. PA: old blue sofas with gum stuck to them. PEA: pool table, ping pong table, foosball, and air hockey. PA: a broken air hockey machine and DDR. PEA: a day student lounge with computers, study cubicles and showers. PA: lockers not convenient for day student use, more blue sofas which are not near the lockers, and five-year-old 20 inch TV’s that play CNN all day. With an updated Student Center where one can really relax, I am sure weekends here at Andover would be much more engaging. Although there may be plans for future improvements in Ryley and Commons, how about some minor improvements now such as a FREE use pool table, or chairs with checkers and chess. Or how about updates on the status of future improvements and the dates that they are to be completed. The current conditions of the Academy are not only limited to the conditions found in Ryley Room, but also extend to other buildings around campus. For example, a few weeks ago I went into one of the dorms around campus to meet with a teacher and was utterly appalled with the condition inside. I found paint chipping off the walls and ugly, childish wallpaper covering some walls, to just name a couple of the problems. Possibilities for improvements could include some doors in the wings of Sam Phil that do not guillotine your hand if you walk through after one has just been swung open. I would also like to comment on this year’s painting of the boys’ locker room floor. Proper steps were clearly not taken to ensure a quality paint job, as the new coat is already starting to chip and wear after half a term of use. This is mostly due to cleats, but if such a problem with cleats and paint exists, how about a rubber floor or some other alternative? Even though Andover sits at the very top among prep schools in the country on paper, the current conditions of the Academy do not reflect such esteemed status. Taking into consideration that school wishes to maintain certain historic qualities of the Georgian Architecture of the campus buildings, it is the small, subtle improvements that make the biggest difference to us students.