Shared Campus, Year 1:
Northfield’s Perspective


Recently, there have been changes on the Paul Sandoval Campus with Northfield High School beginning to share space with Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST): Conservatory Green High School. The dramatic change came as a surprise at first and caused anxiety for the students and staff of NHS. Now that we’ve been neighbors for nearly a whole school year, we wanted to reach out to members of the NHS community about how the shared campus has impacted our day to day operations.

Although the announcement of the shared campus had a strong reaction from everyone, the reality is that the most affected groups are athletics, drama, and upperclassmen. The food services and lowerclassmen are less affected, but still feel some impact.

Athletics are perhaps the most heavily affected out of the entire community when it comes to the shared campus. They feel that they don’t have enough time to practice and prepare for games due to NHS having to share the gym with DSST and the sports teams. Coaches and students feel that, without a shared campus, school life and athletics would only have to account for one school’s coaches and players.

Mr. Ocansey, the head coach for boys basketball, revealed that not only did practices get cut down to just 90 minutes, but that they also had to fit 10 teams into our two courts. Previously, athletes had around 2 hours of practice and were able to get home at a reasonable time. When we asked if the teams had enough space, Mr. Ocansey replied, “Yes, but it would be nice to have our own separate space and more time for practice.”

A junior student-athlete, Joyclyn Reed, included that they usually stayed until 8:00 at night just to get through their drills, or just didn’t complete practices at all. Joyclyn and other NHS students believe that they “should have the rights to our own gym and shouldn’t have to reorganize our game/practice schedules just to fit in DSST’s schedules.”

Gym teacher Mr. Kersten says he has no issues with DSST as a whole but pointed out a few minor problems that could be fixed. One problem is the fact that DSST releases students at 2:30 – almost an hour before NHS. This causes time management problems since gym classes for NHS run until 3:15, so they have to put a hold on practices for DSST.

Underclassmen of NHS aren’t as affected by the shared campus as the juniors and seniors are. When asked if/how the campus is affecting his school life, sophomore Jose Casillas said, “I don’t really care…it doesn’t really bother me at all.”

But multiple juniors and seniors made it clear they had complaints. “I hate how we barely have any space…it’s stupid they don’t have their own building,” junior Na’Iya “Nyny” Clements explained.

“There’s too much space not being used by DSST,  it’s unnecessary that we have to share Building 1 with them,” says a senior McKenzie. “I don’t understand why there is only 9th to 10th if they’re not using all the space proved”, she expressed.

We thought that the food service workers would be one of the more affected parties, when in reality they have almost no problems dealing with two different schools. The biggest problem they have is keeping food fresh and hot. For example, the pizza arrives around 10:20-10:30 and students don’t eat until 11:20. They commented that they’d like “to see teachers come in and interact with the students and  grab school lunch more often” instead of just staying in Building 2.

Staff members shared the same concerns when it came to the amount of space each school had. Ms. Pearson, who’s in charge of NHS’s communications, stated her concerns about not having enough space for future students in our small lunchroom/auditorium and theatre workspace. She, and many others, believe that creating a larger auditorium, a larger lunchroom would help diminish these concerns.

If we want things to function properly, there needs to be improvements if we are going to continue to share Paul Sandoval Campus with DSST: CGC. There needs to be better communication between both schools, since there has been very little on certain topics and issues. Mr. Ocansey said that one improvement that would please both students and staff would be, “more resources for games and more space for athletics”.

Upperclassmen McKenzie and Nyny said it would be better to “have our own gym” and “something that only NHS owns” instead of always having to adjust DSST’s needs.

NHS community members who were present for the campus changes have made their complaints and wishes for improvements clear, but feel as if nothing will change the trend of always having to compromise on shared campus issues. All of the people we spoke to left the impression that, if we grow communication between both schools and change NHS’s mindset of the campus facilities being only “ours” (AKA Northfield’s), the Northfield Community and the DSST: CGC Community can become one, a Paul Sandoval Campus Community.

DSST: CGC members were unavailable to comment on their shared campus experiences, but we wish to follow up with them soon for a future article on the same topic.