Belmont students, teachers have big adjustment in new high school

The front of the new Belmont (Mass.) High School.

Raider Times photo / Izzy DeLorio

The front of the new Belmont (Mass.) High School.

Izzy DeLorio, Raider Times staff

The new Belmont High School building was started in 2018, with doubts that it’d be finished by the fall of 2021. But to their pleasant surprise, students and teachers started the school year in their brand new building

“It feels like an airport,” said Bianca Taylor, a junior at BHS. “It reminds you of an office building, but one that’s lively.” 

Overall, the new school is huge with amazing features, like an auditorium with a catwalk, an atrium, art on the walls of the entrance, and amazing views — some of the Boston skyline. 

With a new Watertown High School building coming in a couple of years, Belmont High students and teachers can give advice here: There’s a lot of positives, but there are new aspects to get used to.

Many teachers and students at Belmont High said they were content with their new rooms and the new school.

The atrium above the cafeteria on the first floor of the new Belmont (Mass.) High School. (Raider Times photo / Izzy DeLorio)

Jennie Pleat is an English teacher, who is in her fourth year at BHS after spending two at Watertown High.

She says her favorite thing about the new school is the natural light that comes through her window every day during classes. The light pours in the windows at and around the entrance, as well, with huge patches of light greeting students as they walk in for a day of learning.

The new building is significantly bigger than the older one, which is to most is a big plus. The school is more than 400,000 square feet, with the walks from the entrance of the school to certain classrooms spanning more than a tenth of a mile. 

The new open concept spaces out many of the classrooms from the “main areas,” such as the entrance, library, and cafeteria. Compared with the old school, everything is much farther away — even the groups of lockers are spread out.

Hallway to the left of the entrance of the new Belmont (Mass.) High School. (Raider Times photo / Izzy DeLorio)

Josh Streit is a social studies and economics teacher who has been teaching for 14 years. He said he misses “the ease of checking in with support,” and he misses the proximity to guidance and the assistant principals. 

The older model of the school, according to Streit, provided easier access to important support. 

In the new building, nearly everywhere you look there are spaces for students to work together or do homework by themselves. The open space of the building allows more chairs, tables, and desks along walls and corners.

Claire Hlotyak (11th grade) and Caroline Nortz (12th) said they enjoy the amount of workspace in the new building as it reminds them of a college student center. They use it for projects, homework, and lunch, if they need peace.

One of the biggest changes of the new school — the parking lot.

The parking lot next to the school is reserved for teachers only, and students have to park along the street. Many upperclassmen choose not to leave for lunch as they don’t want to lose their parking spot on the street. 

Rebecca El Gamel, a French teacher at BHS, anticipates problems when parents and the public come into the school. But, luckily for her, she gets to the school early enough to not be affected by traffic and parking at all.

–Nov. 22, 2021–