Everyone loves sitting for announcements in the theater. The individual comfortable seats, microphones, and room for all make for an enjoyable experience. So, understandably, students can be disappointed when they must drop their bags in the hall, shuffle into Barat Commons, and sit cross-legged on the floor. I decided to set out and discover why we often hold announcements in the Commons, even when everyone seems to prefer to have them in the theater.
It came to my attention that there is a maximum occupancy sign in Barat Commons. Upon further investigation, it is a small, rectangular sheet that reads “MAXIMUM OCCUPANCY 150.” The sign has led some to ask, if this is the maximum occupancy of Barat Commons, then how is the school able to hold 300+ people in this area on multiple occasions?
After looking further into this issue and speaking with multiple faculty members, I found out an important detail: the sign is only for public events. That means that during normal school hours, when the school is closed to the public and there are no events in the space, the school is allowed to have more than 150 people occupying the room. With this in mind, it makes sense that many of our announcements are held in the Commons. Without there being a video announcement, there is no real need to go into the theater. Holding announcements in the theater poses some issues: the seats might get damaged if students put their feet up, and with both the upper school and middle school having musicals during the year, the sets are at risk of getting damaged if there are hundreds of students walking in and out once a week. In addition, there may be other speakers or events happening in the theater that inhibit our ability to go in and out of the theater freely.
Although many of us enjoy the luxury of the theater, it seems more practical to hold announcements in Barat Commons. This also makes announcements in the theater more of a treat; if we were in there every week, it wouldn’t be as special!