The Annex: Reality of Francis Lewis’ Newest Addition

Throughout its construction, the Annex had been highly anticipated by the school community. The building was a major topic of conversation for many students who were curious about how it would impact their school lives. This year, they were finally able to find out as it was finalized.

The Annex officially opened in September 2022, after many setbacks such as the pandemic and other complications. With it has come many new facilities and classrooms for Francis Lewis High School, and added great additions to the school environment. However, with these new additions came new challenges that have impacted students and faculty.

“If you have a class in the main building and you have to go to the Annex, it’s really hard,” junior Ada Zeng shared. “Especially if it’s on the other side and you have to go to the third floor in the Annex. It is terrible… if I don’t run, I’ll be late.”

Many students feel that they don’t have enough time to travel in between classes. This can be attributed to the large mass of students traveling to and from the Annex and the main building.

“There is no way to efficiently get in and out of the building, and it was done very poorly with the one way staircase,” said a junior at Francis Lewis High School.

Teacher and faculty members also have concerns about the overcrowding that the installation of the Annex has brought. Administrators have attempted to mitigate the problem by adding points of entry and exit.

“I remember looking outside my classroom window and seeing the traffic was all the way out of the doors of the building to the trailers,” Ms. Passarella, a science teacher, said. “But then they started implementing new strategies like switching which doors the students enter and exit so that they’re opposite. And that really seemed to help. But I still have issues with students coming very late to class.” 

Despite all these challenges, the Annex is seen in a positive light by many as well. Through its design and thoughtfully chosen additions, it has added a fresh, contemporary feel to the school. 

“I think the Annex is a pretty cool place,” sophomore Alisha Vohra commented. “I like the classroom designs. It also makes the main building less crowded.”

The Annex now serves as a forum for new educational opportunities. With the addition of different structures, which have allowed for the expansion of program classes.

“They built a whole specialized classroom for the culinary students,” sophomore Andy Zong stated. “There is also a new class that studies about life in the greenhouse. I think it’s cool that they added more academy classes.”

Trying to navigate through the challenges as well as maintaining the positives about the Annex has been an important ongoing agenda for Principal Dr. Marmor. He has been working hard to work out solutions to the overcrowding issues brought on by the Annex. 

“I have a whole entire team at the School Construction Authority doing a new engineering plan,” Dr. Marmor said. “We are going to be re-configuring the entire entry and exit. We also want to widen the opening on the side of the school. We already have architects that have been visiting, and they’ve been taking pictures… I don’t expect it to happen immediately, but it’s going to happen. All of these things are what I’ve been working on for the last six weeks.”