After the end of the 2012-2013 school year, Pace Academy ushered in a new era by tearing down its long-standing upper school building, thus clearing the way for the brand new Arthur M. Blank Family Upper School. Age and corrosion were frequently cited as reasons for the replacement of the old upper school, which opened its doors in 1961. The new building promises to create a modern and updated space to prepare Pace for the future, but for many teachers, this innovation will not come without costs.
Although the Arthur M. Blank Family Upper School was designed with an architectural style that matches the rest of Pace’s campus, English teacher Ricks Carson expressed his sentiment for the old building. “I dunno, man. Something about it just doesn’t sit right with me,” he said, “That old building was beautifully constructed. It’s a bummer.” Other teachers find the design of the new building to be much less efficient than the old one. “It’s really going to be frustrating to have my office moved from the Inman Center into the academic building,” said Mr. Fleming, dean of the class of 2016, “It will take me so much less time to get to my classes. I don’t know how I’m going to manage it.” Spanish Teacher Cappy Lewis, whose room was located in the old upper school’s disconnected foreign language hall, is upset also by the change: “We just had such a great location in the old building. I don’t know how it’s going to be next year.”
Ms. Tate is especially troubled by the apparent deaths of throngs of rats, which once lived peacefully in the crooks and crannies of the old building. “It just breaks your heart, ya know?” said Ms. Tate, a single tear sliding down her cheek, “They were such great creatures.” Mr. Ballard, once Ms. Tate’s across-the-hall neighbor, expressed a similar sentiment at the loss of the rats. “Lab rats are pretty expensive these days, and every time I placed an order, I’d get a bunch of angry emails from PETA,” said Mr. Ballard, “The Pace rats were plentiful, easy to catch, and excellent for experiments. Plus, when I took a few, nobody knew the difference.”
For some, the transition between buildings has been the most vexing component of the construction. “Did you see my old room?” said history teacher Helen Smith. “Do you have any idea how long it took me to move all of that junk?” Maintenance worker Chris Bevel, who assisted Ms. Smith in transporting her classroom, agreed: “It was a mess. I’ve never seen so many cats in my life.”