Take a Seat

Elsie Goren, Annika Dean , and Olivia Crutchfield

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On September 30th, new desks, chairs, and tables arrived at Eagan High School. The furniture will remain until November 11th. The desks are a part of a district-initiated effort to replace old student furniture in middle and high schools.

Overall, there are six classroom sets of pilot furniture; the sets occupy certain classrooms as a means for students to provide feedback on study features such as durability, grouping, and comfort. “Students and teachers are giving feedback to the District Committee on their preferred furniture for the next 25-30 years,” Dr. Reikowski explains.

Currently, the sets reside at Eagan High School, Rosemount High School, and Apple Valley High School, but will move to other District 196 schools in November.

Eagan teachers who wanted to participate in the experiment signed up their classrooms for a week and attended a workshop concerning the furniture’s features. Each pilot classroom has several different types of desks and chairs, varying in size, portability, and height. Although there is an assortment of furniture, when the new desks are purchased, classrooms will likely have a uniform set of desks and chairs. District 196’s hope is to learn about the benefits and disadvantages of the desks and introduce teachers to a fresh learning environment.

Eagan High School still has desks that are as old as the school itself. Dr. Reikowski clarifies, “Our building opened in 1990 and at that time we had the desks purchased, so they are already 27 years old.”

The priority will be to replace the oldest desks in the district, so only a portion of Eagan’s furniture is expected to be replaced in the near future. The funding comes from the Levy Bond Referendum passed by taxpayers last November, which approved $500,000 for the replacement of secondary school desks. The desks will be implemented in the fall of 2017.

The new furniture showcases a variety of features. The desks are bigger and lighter, whereas the chairs are cozier and have wheels. The tables can be adjusted according to height, and a few high tables were tested as well. “It does change the learning environment,” Ms. Carthey, one of the teachers who volunteered to participate in the trial, describes.

Overall, students have experienced enthusiastic reactions to the new seating arrangements. Mya Schmitz, a junior in Ms. Carthey’s 6th hour class, admits, “I liked the new desks, especially because one of the designs had a lot of space to put all your things on.”