Although there are grey clouds of budget cuts that could deeply affect the school’s renowned academics on the horizon, Stuyvesant’s Physical Education department has received a large windfall. The borough of Manhattan has approved a grant of over a quarter-million dollars to purchase new lockers in the locker rooms, which have not been renovated since the building was opened in 1992.
According to Principal Stanley Teitel, the $272,000 capital project grant, one of several outstanding grant applications, will be used for acquiring and installing 3,400 new lockers in the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms. Though it might be tempting to reroute this money to other areas in need of funding, the grant is expressly for this purpose. “If we did not receive the grant, then we would not be changing the lockers,” Teitel said. “This does not affect the school budget.”
Assistant Principal Physical Education Martha Singer thinks the installation of new lockers is long overdue. “The lockers in the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms are the original lockers from when the building was built,” Singer said. “The boys’ locker room is in desperate need of repair. There have been lots of thefts and vandalism, and this needs to be taken care of.”
Despite this desperate need for repair, any repairs to the locker room itself would be “minor” and only in response to damages incurred during the process of renovating the lockers, Teitel said. Any improvements beyond fixing the lockers in the 17-year-old rooms would have to wait for another source of funding.
However, the layout of the lockers will be subject to change. “We are looking into a three-set locker, to have enough for everybody,” Teitel said. This type of locker would be more akin to the type found in the hallway than the current layout of multiple smaller lockers above a larger one at the bottom.
Along with the change to hallway-style lockers, the newly adopted lock purchasing policy may be implemented in the locker rooms. “If we get what we wish for, we are thinking about having students pay for their lockers,” Teitel said. “Hopefully the system can address the locker room thefts as it has done for the hallway lockers.”
Sophomore Konrad Wojnar agreed with Teitel’s reasoning. “It will be nice to have some functional lockers in the locker rooms. I wouldn’t even mind if I had to pay to use them. Kids wouldn’t be so quick to destroy the lockers if they owned them,” Wojnar said.
The renovation would ideally be done over the summer, but might have to be completed before June 30th due to accounting requirements for the school. Should this occur, the school “will stop [Physical Education] classes for a week if we need to,” Teitel said.
Sophomore Vivian Zhang supports school development projects like the locker renovation. “I think it’s great that the school is finally taking action to improve school conditions. Maybe next time [Teitel] should petition for a grant to get some working escalators,” Zhang said.
Junior Jeffrey Wu would prefer that the money be spent elsewhere. “The current locker room is a little beat up, but isn’t that bad. I’ve never had an issue with theft and I think it’s a waste of money to be renovating these locker rooms when so many other things could be done to improve the school,” Wu said
Physical education teacher Howard Barbin feels that the pros of getting the lockers outweigh the cons of losing physical education class time “With all the testing days in June, I’m sure it won’t be a problem. It’s a privilege to have lockers. Anything to preserve the lockers is a good thing. It worked in the hallways and I’m sure that transferring the system will be a good thing,” Barbin said.