By Breana Lee,
The grand opening of the new All Student Center was held on Feb. 7 at 8 a.m. to show the center to district officials and local leaders.
The Madrigals performed to start the grand opening. The group sang “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5.
Interim principal Tom McHale recognized various groups such as current and former representatives of school boards, DJUSD and Davis High administration, PTA, the Student Solidarity Task Force, AVID and Student Government.
DHS graduates Kellen Browning and Grace Richey’s HUB video, “Lack of MPR creates problems for students,” was also show. The video was part of a series of articles by the pair that many credit as critical to the center’s construction.
“[This video] demonstrates how student activism can have an impact,” McHale said.
McHale also highlighted the new location of the Career Center and Athletic Director Jeff Lorenson’s new office, as well as a classroom for Student Government and teacher Anthony Vasquez’s English classes.
“The ASC is a hub for students, fostering good student health and wellness,” McHale said.
McHale also touched on the ASC’s food, which included the salad bar and outdoor garden for educational purposes where students can learn how to grow vegetables.
“Our board has always been very concerned with student wellness. If students are hungry they can’t learn,” School Board member Barbara Archer said.
“I’m really happy that people are taking advantage of the good food here, the early breakfast, the mid-morning breakfast, and the lunch, because nutrition for our students really affects learning and I’m so glad we have these offerings here,” McHale said.
McHale then introduced current School Board President Tom Adams who addressed the ongoing effort to build the ASC.
“This center was not built by one school board, but multiple school boards,” Adams said.
Adams emphasized working together to “demonstrate how we all belong,” referencing the “We All Belong” resolution the board signed on Feb. 2, 2017 to create an all inclusive atmosphere throughout all DJUSD campuses.
“The fact that we had student government here, the madrigals here, we had folks from AVID, we had a whole assortment of folks, shows that this is really already becoming a place where we all belong,” Adams said.
Superintendent John Bowes spoke third.
“Our All Student Center is a place where students can collaborate, communicate, celebrate, greet, meet, and eat,” Bowes said. “[Before the ASC,] students had been relying on the DJ eats food truck […] which will still be serving meals around campus.”
Bowes credited COO Bruce Colby and the food services staff for coming up with the idea of DJ eats and thanked them for being consistent with DJUSD’s mission.
Bowes believes that refreshing our facilities is important in order to meet the needs of students and staff to ensure that they work, teach and create an effective learning environment.
“Our district believes in inclusion as a guiding principle that the ASC should serve as a place for developing a climate of peace, respect, and openness to different perspectives where all students, staff and families belong,” Bowes said. “Those words come from the We All Belong resolution passed by the board of education, that school here serves as a constant reminder of our commitment [and] fully realizing ourselves.”
Adams also loves the feeling of comfort associated with the All Student Center.
“Normally you don’t associate warmth and welcoming with buildings like this, but it’s there, and that’s not due simply to the architecture but also to the people on campus here, the faculty, the students, just the overall feel gives me a sense of, ‘I’d really like to hang out here for a couple of hours,’” Adams said.
Manager of Maintenance and Operations Mel Nelson’s favorite part of the All Student Center is seeing student participation.
“My greatest feeling for this building […] was to see maximum participation, seeing all the students, and I continue to come here every day; that’s what’s exciting to me, seeing students in a social environment, plus a great dining facility,” Nelson said.
Nelson monitored the contractor and managed furniture purchases of the All Student Center.
“We were in direct contact with the architects and the builders every day,” Nelson said.
Sophomore Catie Fee also noticed the enthusiasm from students.
“The All Student Center has been a positive contribution to the school because it’s always packed with students who come here to eat with their friends and do homework,” Fee said.
Madhavi Sunder, Davis School Board member, also focused on the community.
“This is a center by students and for students. It was student journalists and campus leaders who advocated for a center where all students could feel safe and included and eat safely from the elements,” Sunder said. “They made the case to the school board and the community heard them.”