South Administration plans to take lunch tent down in May

Grace Wininger '23, Supervising Copy Editor

As one of the many COVID-19 precautions the administration put together, only a limited number of people were allowed in the cafeteria and commons. To provide another area for students to sit, Student Activities director Melissa Petz rented a tent, which has been sitting on the front lawn for over a year.

Although the tent was first intended as only an eating area, science classes used it for labs, music classes used it for practices, and clubs use it for induction ceremonies. Despite the helpful nature of the tent, its reign on the South front lawn has finally reached its end.

“We found it to be (a) very helpful auxiliary outdoor space for both lunches and events,” Petz said. “We’ve used (it) for national honor society initiation events, we’re doing an event soon for our special needs group, so it’s been a great space.”

The date the tent will be taken down is still unknown, according to Petz. It was difficult to schedule an exact date with the company, because of things like weather and shipping delays.

“There are scheduling (and) employment conflicts, as well as a lack of suppliers that can take down the tent,” Petz said. “Many people have tents up right now for the same reason. So as tents start coming down, it (takes) finesse trying to schedule the contractor, or Great Lakes Tent, in this case, to have their employees take it down without incurring overtime hours.”

According to Assistant Principal Joseph Spryszak, there were some unexpected problems with putting up such a large tent; the grass. The area underneath the tent died, leaving big patches of mud instead of grass.

“It’s grass and it’s Michigan, so it’s not permanent,” Spruszak said. “It’s just that when you keep the elements off, it’s just a natural way things happen. But again, we have the resources, uh, to, to contact people. If anything doesn’t seem to be grown in, we’ll get the experts to let us know what to do.”

Some students, however, don’t express the same love of the tent that administration does. Fletcher Klaasen ’23 says that the weather influences the tent too much, and with COVID-19 fading to the back of everyone’s minds, it’s just not worth it anymore.

“I very rarely use the tent outside,” Klaasen said. “The weather is getting nicer and the lawn is rarely wet, so it’s fine to just sit on the regular lawn (instead of under the tent) when eating outside.”

Although the Spryszak believes the tent was worthwhile, it’s usefulness has reached an end. The tent will be taken down sometime in May, and will likely not be put up for the next school year/

“We know (now) that’s an option going forward, but hopefully, it’s something we won’t have to do next year and we’re not planning on right away doing it unless it’s needed,” Spryszak said