Transporting our inner flame to JCC

By the BP Editorial Board

Deja vu – A year ago, students were asked to bring in boxes to help pack up most of the main building and relocate to the Annex. Exactly a year later, the student body was informed this month that Shalhevet will relocate to the Jewish Community Center (JCC) for the school year 2014-2015.  Time to collect boxes again.

Last November, the unused part of school was closed off behind thick plaster walls in preparation for building a new school on the northern two-thirds of campus. A new building would provide a place to practice basketball, modern labs for science, better cafeteria, art and davening space and and for Drama a technologically updated theater.  Students genuinely supported this process and were extraordinarily patient with the plans.
It was bittersweet to give up the environment that was so dear and near to our hearts. No more long hallway. No more hospital carpet. No more preschool jungle gym. No more romantic walks around the parking lot. But we said goodbye and we were ready.
But politics and an elongated appeal process took up the whole year of planned construction, and here we are with the same hopes as last spring. The Sport Court is gone, and a green metal fence cuts the parking lot into two. But construction hasn’t started. Even now, with escrow closed on the sale, all we are seeing is workers in white hazmat suites removing asbestos on the roof.
And we are moving again. Students will preserve their lungs, escaping dust, dirt, chemicals and loud noise too. But moving back to our original location at the JCC will pose new challenges.
The administration is planning to make the JCC campus conducive to high school life. But there is work for us to do as well. We hope that the inner Shalhevet flame will not diminish as a result of moving locations.  Smartboards and other classroom enhancements will only be useful if the 910 South Fairfax mentality moves to the JCC.  We envision regular dance parties in the hallways, spirited dress up days and a relaxed environment advantageous to learning.
If the past year has been a roller coaster, hopefully there will still be delayed gratification and the new school will be worth the wait.  In the meantime, however long it takes, the best thing to do is sit back, embrace the bumpy ride, and remember that what’s best about Shalhevet is what doesn’t fit in any box.