After Delays, Center Courtyard Finally Opens

After Delays, Center Courtyard Finally Opens

Ava Steinberger, Staff Reporter

 On Tuesday, March 22, Hannah Carter ‘22 sent out a message declaring that “students with their free period privileges may utilize the Center Courtyard for quiet studying and socializing.” While this may not have been monumental news to everyone in the Wilmington Friends community, to some, it signified a big accomplishment. 

Biology teacher Ellen Johnson noted that the courtyard’s opening was “a long time coming.” Some major obstacles prevented the courtyard from opening up sooner—most of which centered around what to do with the space. One problem was that, when the school did not yet have air conditioning, teachers would have to open their classrooms’ windows. Since the courtyard rests in the middle of many classrooms, the sound from it would reverberate into the rooms with opened windows, making it difficult for students and teachers to focus. Thankfully, when the school installed an air conditioning system between 2010 and 2011, the community came one step closer to getting the courtyard opened. One idea for utilizing the space was to make it into a community garden. However, since the cafeteria’s windows look out into the courtyard, there was a fear that the water used for the garden would seep through the windows and flood the cafeteria. Because of this, that idea was never implemented. 

The major turning point for “operation open it up” was when it was suggested that the area be used as a quiet space for studying. This way no classrooms with open windows would be disturbed, and no hose water would cause Hurricane Katrina 2.0 in the cafeteria. Johnson added, “I’m very pleased, as many people worked towards getting this done. This year, we managed to finally put all of the pieces from history together and get through the last steps.”

Some members of the community shared their thoughts on the exciting news. Greta Munch ‘25 remarked, “It’s really nice because it allows students to get some fresh air throughout the day.” Others shared similar opinions with Beck Hartwick pointing out that “The courtyard is a very pretty space, so it’s nice to be able to appreciate more parts of our school.” Alex Brennan ‘23 added on, stating that “It is a great opportunity for the juniors and seniors to be able to study outside of our normal spaces.” Since there already is one courtyard that students can study in, having even more outdoor space to utilize for studying and socializing is an added benefit. Even those who were not fully aware of the courtyard’s newfound use were able to appreciate the new opportunity. Sarah Levenson ‘24 commented that “To be honest, I don’t know much about the courtyard or even that it’s opened up, but I think it’s great that more people are now able to study outside when the weather gets warm.” Quinn Green ‘24 supported Sarah’s statement with a subtle, “W courtyard.” The response to the courtyard’s opening is overwhelmingly positive, and it sounds like it will definitely be in use during the warmer months.  

So, what is next for the Center Courtyard? Furniture. Ronnie Petrucci ‘22 explained that the proposed senior gift for the class of 2022 is to furnish the courtyard with a bench, or some type of seating, so those who choose to study there do not have to bring out camp chairs. With the help of the senior’s parting gift, in addition to everyone who has contributed to the courtyard’s opening, all future Quakers will have the opportunity to engage in their studies while admiring a different part of the school.