Unveiling the New and Improved Locker Bay

The riser system many students use for seating was designed by one of Leesville’s own, senior Ashley Merritt. Other students that participated in the project include Lindsey Dunn, Kristen Jensen, Kaleigh Parro, and Carolina Corbin. (Photo courtesy of Mariana Herrera)The riser system many students use for seating was designed by one of Leesville’s own, senior Ashley Merritt. Other students that participated in the project include Lindsey Dunn, Kristen Jensen, Kaleigh Parro, and Carolina Corbin. (Photo courtesy of Mariana Herrera)

As returning students wander through the first floor of the main building, they may be surprised to find a new installation in place of the old locker bay that once stood there. Completed with risers, carpet, benches, and counters to eat at, the Locker Bay Project was designed by Mrs. Kilburn’s interior designs students and has been in the works for about two years.

The Locker Bay Project– as it was dubbed by the Leesville administration– is the result of Wake County School Board’s Balanced Assessment System (BAS). According to WCPSS’s website, the purpose of the BAS is “to develop and implement a balanced assessment system that accurately reflects students’ knowledge of core curriculum standards.”

Part of their mission is to encourage the use of collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking. Two and a half years ago, Wake County School Board tasked Leesville Road High School with the Locker Bay Project based upon the idea of collaboration.

“[The locker bay] is supposed to be a collaborative learning space,” said Bethany Kilburn, the interior design teacher at LRHS and a mentor of the project. “Dr. Muttillo asked me two years ago in December if my interior design students would be interested in designing a space and that is how it started.”

The students involved in the project were given a great amount of independence, with minimal supervision. “It was kind of a collaboration between all those students. [Some of my students] and two of Mr. Robinson’s students… drew some architectural work on sketch-up,” said Kilburn. The students had to gain the approval of Mrs. Kilburn and Molly Moore, LRHS assistant principal, before they could present their concepts to the school district.

Kaleigh Parro, a sophomore at Leesville, was one of the students involved with the new installation in the locker bay. “[Mrs. Kilburn] saw one of my designs and loved it and asked me to be a part of the team to help design it,” said Parro.

Ashley Merritt, a senior this year, worked alongside Parro and is involved in the project since her sophomore year. According to Kilburn, Merritt has been one of the biggest contributors. Merritt certainly has the passion and creativity for the project and is grateful for being part of the team that brought the project to life. “This project has done nothing but strengthen my passion for becoming an interior designer. The opportunity I have received from working one-on-one with contractors and other designers made all of the stress worthwhile,” said Merritt, via text message.

Although the Locker Bay Project has achieved much in the past two years, the journey was not without its obstacles. The previous year saw some delays in the project due to financial issues.

“Last year we kind of stalled out because of the money situation, and so then Mrs. Moore and I applied for some grants, and we got the money,” said Kilburn. The project finally began its final stages in July of this year and wasn’t completed until the Friday before school started.

Currently the new locker bay installation contains a couple of benches and risers, a counter near the windows to the courtyard where students can eat, and a large, empty carpeted space. Although students are not allowed to eat in the carpeted area as of right now, several students use it to sit and chat or catch up on their homework.

“We normally sit over [in the locker bay] because we like to do our homework and just chill after lunch. It’s just not as crazy as the cafeteria,” said Daisy Gomez, a junior.

The team that worked on the project would be pleased to hear that the locker bay is being enjoyed for the same reasons that they built it. “We kind of just wanted to make an area for students to hang out and study and converse instead of just having the library,” said Parro.

It also helps that they utilized a space that wasn’t being used before. “[The new installation] is good. I like it. It’s better than lockers… because locker bays don’t do anything,” said Oliver Campbell, a sophomore who also spends his lunch period in the locker bay.

The area isn’t completely perfect, however. Some students still seem to prefer the original structure more. “I like the locker bay more because there was like privacy and space and this is just too open for me,” said Gomez.

Gomez, and other students who feel similarly to her, will be pleased to hear that the locker bay still has more to be added.

“We are in the process now of ordering the furniture… It is not complete at all,” said Kilburn.

Even though the locker bay is nowhere near completed, Kilburn still has high hopes for the new locker bay. “My hopes are that students will use it and be comfortable in it. And that we can keep it nice for a really really long time. I hope people respect the space.”

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