Classroom switcheroo

Chemistry and Biology Departments switch buildings


The new AP and Honor Chemistry classroom is located in room 5005.

New changes arose this school year as the Chemistry and Biology Departments switched buildings to ease the strain of teachers having to commute between classrooms.

Before this school year, the North Building housed the Chemistry Department, while Biology was located in the South Building. The growing number of science electives forced biology teachers to frequently travel between buildings to teach classes, a rarity amongst Jones faculty.

“All biology teachers teach an elective, not just biology. So the electives and biology classes did not all fit in the South Building, forcing some teachers to be in the North Building for biology,” said Eve Reineke, an Honors Biology and Anatomy and Physiology teacher.

Switching between buildings for classes required a lot of energy from teachers as they set up lessons and equipment in different classrooms.

“Biology teachers would attend meetings, but we’d have to move buildings to have those meetings,” said Reineke. “Then supplies were in one building and not the other. So it became difficult to maintain [the switching] between buildings.”

Raymond Lesniewski, an AP and Honors Chemistry teacher, taught in room 606, Reineke’s current room, before the switch this year. 

“It just takes a while to get used to it. Being in one space for 22 years, you know where everything is,” said Lesniewski. 

Both teachers agree that different rooms offer various benefits and negatives. 

“The biggest difference is the way the rooms are set up. This [room 606] is more elongated. The projector is far away versus the other horizontal rooms,” said Reineke.

The rooms also offer different amenities for each course. 

“We’re [now] going to be using portable gas burners because we only need to use them for one or two labs the whole year anyway,” said Lesniewski. “In the old room, I could make it dark, and sometimes in chemistry experiments it’s helpful not to have much light.” 

Meanwhile, the South Building rooms gave biology teachers alternatives that aren’t as present in the north building.

“I could open the windows [in the South Building] because when we dissect, it has quite an odor,” said Reineke. “I need some sort of air filtration, so I have an air filtration right behind my desk.”

The lengthy process of moving the departments began last October with preliminary discussions before the physical move in June. 

“There was a company that came to move our tables and chairs,” said Reineke. “A lot of the maintenance really helped out with cleaning, moving boxes, or providing us with carts and things like that.”

Teachers worked together to support each other during the move. 

“We all stepped up and helped each other out,” said Lesniewski. “A lot of teachers decided to kind of do it by themselves because it was expensive equipment. It took a while, but we got all the support we needed.”

With the change, the Class of 2024 will take their biology classes in the same spaces where they took chemistry classes last year. 

“There’s not much of a difference. I’m sure the experience in the class would have been the same in the New Building as it is in the Old Building; it’s just the environment is different,” said Annamaria Arena ‘24, who took AP Chemistry and currently takes AP Biology. 

Another AP Biology student, Grace Giles ‘24, echoes that sentiment. 

“No [the change] wasn’t frustrating because all my classes are in the Old Building. So it was convenient for me,” said Giles.

Altogether, teachers discovered benefits in the switch despite initial complications.

“I will say I’m very happy in this new space. But I was sad at first to leave the old one,” said Lesniewski. “I can’t say one is better than the other because they both have pluses. If I had to choose one room, I’d say this one [5005] because the switch helped the Biology Department.”