Straight Talk…Favorite Places and New Study Spaces.

Ground broke in 1964 for the construction of Harwood Union High School. The school was built on a 20-acre plot of land and cost approximately $1.6 million to build. Construction was completed in early 1966 and the doors opened for the 1966–1967 school year.

 In 1997, Harwood underwent a $7.2 million renovation in order to modernize its facilities as well as add a dedicated Middle School wing of the school. These renovations included a new exterior design featuring a curved front roof that looks like a turning page.  

Where do Seniors Chill?

Where do people like to hang out around Harwood? I wanted to see if the other Harwood students felt like the new changes being made were an improvement. First I talked to the seniors. After all, they’ve been here the longest. Most mentioned the Senior Cafe as one of their top choices. Some saw it as a relaxed atmosphere and good study space. Ariana Clark remarked, “I think it’s very quiet. I’m able to plug in some headphones, and during my uptime, there are not a lot of people in the Senior Cafe first block so it’s a very secluded and really great place to study.” 

Some students said it was also a nice place to hang out with friends and eat lunch in a different environment. “We have our own space that’s kind of recognized as a senior area only for lunch, which is really nice. So we can have a maybe less chaotic atmosphere while still eating with our friends.” The senior cafe is one of the only places in the school that is off-limits to younger students, most seniors I talked to thought that it should stay that way because it gave them a space to hang out with their classmates, study, and it has LED lights which gives it a fun feel. Sometimes it can get a bit rowdy: people play music during lunch, or there’s a loud group at the foosball table. These things can turn into an almost club-like environment. 

Options for Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors:

When talking to some of the younger students, they mentioned a variety of spaces. The open area with the chairs by the middle school or studying in the library was their two favorite places. It is a relaxed environment and a nice area to spread out with friends if you need to study during the day. It’s filled with many small movable desks along with tables and chairs.

Some students enjoy hanging out in their favorite teacher’s room during their lunch block with friends or opt for just a simple visit at some point to say ‘hi’. 

Wendy Rand is one of those teachers; her classroom is very inviting and she always is willing to listen. “I have a lunch 1 that I am never hungry for so I hang out with my friends and I sit in her Intro to Crafts class and she gives me extra pottery scraps to work on.” 

Study Areas Upgraded!  

This year Harwood has chairs and desks for new study spaces around the high school wing. The majority of students that I talked to liked the new spaces. These were made possible by the state grant money and decided on by the student body at the beginning of the school year.  One senior added, “I really like the new big black chairs. And I think they’re very comfortable, I feel like I can get a lot of work done or just chill out with friends.” 

The study area by Kate’s garden is definitely a challenge at lunch or passing times. “It does make walking in the hallway a little bit more difficult, especially on the way to and from lunch.” Some students are in favor of the study areas because they have a lot of free blocks and it is a new space to relax in. It’s like having your own desk area and it is not in a classroom setting, it’s more relaxed and you can chat with friends while you study. “Instead of having to sit somewhere loud, like the senior cafe, or somewhere, like the library, which is also nice, I can have my own table to sit down and chill out and work on my application.” 

The new study area by the English and science wing of the school is nice. Though it’s agreed that it could use some decorations, bean bags, or some fake plants like the one by Kate’s garden. “I feel like it’d be a great place for the English classes to go out and use a lot.” It can function as an extra classroom if needed to break away from the classroom setting.

Though Harwood is a fairly small school, the student numbers have been increasing in the past few years. According to, “Harwood Union Middle/High School’s student population of 601 students has grown by 27% over five school years.” Having more spaces outside the classroom is a great step in making Harwood a place to cultivate friendships and spend time in a productive manner. “It’s like a relatively small school. So I think the extra space helps if you’re in a big class, you guys can branch out to work on projects.” Harwood did a great job setting up the new spaces and we are all happy to be able to use these areas throughout the day. Every student I spoke with appreciates the spaces to spread out and enrich their learning.