GHS Reimagines 70s Era Student Center: Work Stations, High Tops, New Color Palette

By Lily Osgan, GHS Class of 2022

During the COVID Pandemic, Greenwich High School students had to experience remote learning, followed by hybrid learning. It was at this time that a distinct hub of the GHS community, the student center, experienced revolutionary change.

The formation of the decor, which had stayed relatively stagnant since the 1970s, were moved into rows of desks. Students that once sat at large tables in groups sat alone and studied. It was this temporary shift that began the process of a permanent change: a student center enhancement. 

Photo Credit Ryan Podber
GHS student center early in the pandemic with rows of desks for students to eat. September 2020 Photo: Benjamin Shi
GHS student center in the 1970s. Photo: Compass Yearbook

Principal of Greenwich High School, Mr. Ralph Mayo, stated that “It is time GHS got an upgrade in that room; it’s like going back in time.” He elaborated: “After going through 27 months of pandemic, it will be nice to have a beautiful new room to come back to.” 

In regards to what faculty member was the backbone of this operation, Mr. Mayo stated, “Ms. Tulotta came to me with the idea; She gets all the credit.” 

    Upon discussion with Ms. Dana Tulotta about her idea, she stated that during the pandemic, when students sat in rows, she noticed that “students sat where they were comfortable, and did what they wanted, whether that be studying or talking to friends, and they took responsibility for their garbage.” This observation sparked in her the idea to change the student center permanently to adapt to the varying desires of students. 

    Ms. Tulotta said, “In April we surveyed students and staff for input and used it to form subcommittees; We got a lot of input on both ends…There was a lot of interest from teachers who attended GHS and remembered what the space felt like as a student.”

 This feedback regarding her idea, affirmed the necessity of her envisioned changes. She explained that the committee “started to think outside the box. We plan to redecorate and put some new furniture in the space…Incorporating charging stations is one of our ideas so that students may use their laptops to study.” 

Regarding next steps for the project, Ms. Tulotta stated that “our next step, once we get the last necessary approval, is picking an architect…the professional opinion will help with making the space look nice.” 

    When asked about the goal of the changes being made to the student center, Ms. Tulotta responded, “We want to change the climate and culture…to make it feel more like a college student union where students can be comfortable rather than a cafeteria.”