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Insider Special Report – Can We Furnish Right?

By: Ezra Graves

Photo by Evan Tung.

d.tech has a long history of acquiring odd furniture and then breaking it. Our taste seems to be a little wild for a school, and in fact, Dr. Montgomery has stated “We’ve never bought ‘school’ furniture”. Every campus has had its own fresh set of furniture with its own problems, so what about the Oracle campus? Well, we’re doing pretty good. Our tables aren’t cardboard, the indoor furniture hasn’t disintegrated yet, chairs and tables aren’t migrating room to room, and we have an organized set of outdoor furniture.

Sadly, however, not even a month in, the outdoor chairs and tables are already starting to break. I walked outside with a friend the other day and a chair collapsed because he walked past it. Upon closer inspection, the point where most stress on a chair typically lies had holes drilled through it during construction to accommodate the bolts that held it together, and that’s exactly where it had broken. So this leaves the question: are we destructive, or do we choose weak furniture?

Senior Sam Mostowfi says he thinks we as a whole are high strain, but that some people may be extra strenuous. It seems that Dr. Montgomery agrees, stating that “We’re pretty hard on furniture,” and when I asked him if it were individuals or the school as a whole, he admitted that it is probably a bit of both.

Dr. Montgomery was closely involved with furniture selection, and laid out some of the priorities. His first three were flexibility and variety, and yes, comfort. But he’s learned over the years how important durability is. He moved on to say that he worked with these priorities in mind alongside trusted furniture vendors recommended by Oracle, and mentioned that science teachers worked directly with Oracle to handle their specific needs. Aside from the science teachers, most rooms and spaces were supplied with office furniture.

Traditional school furniture is typically tougher, blockier, and built to be abused. But because of school budgets, it’s mostly cheap and uncomfortable. The principle behind d.tech’s furniture choices is that “better” furniture built for an office will function better for us, and will be more comfortable. Dr. Montgomery also told me “we’re hard on furniture, we move it around a lot”, especially during Intersession and d.lab. So is it possible that we don’t have weak furniture, but the wrong furniture?

Photo by Evan Tung.

Wayne Brock, d.tech’s engineering teacher, was strongly of the mind that our new campus is furnished better than the Rollins Road campus. He also acknowledged the strain we put on furniture, and the reason for it: “There are a wide variety of students at d.tech. Many are very mindful and respectful of their surroundings. It is when people are rushed, impulsive or careless that things break.” He also commented on some misuse, stating, “Furniture is designed to be loaded in a certain way and things like tilting back in a chair subjects the chair to much more bending loads. Standing on chairs can also be unstable and crack plastics of seating surfaces because force is concentrated in a smaller area.”

It is now more important than ever to maintain our current furnishing. I was told by Dr. Montgomery that we have an entirely new set of furniture as a one time gift from Oracle, and the teachers finally have classrooms they can work with. Everything is comfortable, and every space has somewhere to sit or work.

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